Global warming is presenting a novel economic climate for a new breed of hustler, poised to make money on the meltdown.
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From water to vodka to the creation of artificial glaciers in India, icebergs have never been hotter. One Canadian water company produces 50,000 bottles of its Iceberg Water annually. A Newfoundland entrepreneur sells nets to tow icebergs out of the way of oil rigs for over $100,000 a pop.
More recently, Icelandic glaciers have become the focus of a multimillion dollar glacier water scam. According to a July 2013 Harper’s story, roughly $20 million of investor money disappeared into a company called Iceland Glacier Products, run by a Canadian dentist turned entrepreneur named Otto Spork. With a history of bamboozling investors and hiding out when the heat is on, Spork was planning to sell bottled water from an Icelandic iceberg and send bulk amounts of it around the world in converted oil tankers.
Neither goal was realized before the scheme collapsed. Canadian authorities began investigating and angry investors sued, but got only a fraction of their money back.
Even after all that, Harper’s journalist McKenzie Funk discovered that Spork is still peddling Icelandic iceberg water, now under a new company name. (According to a recent tweet, SNO Water will soon be available for purchase on eBay and Amazon.) Are iceberg water entrepreneurs the modern-day snake oil salesmen?