[font color=\'#000000\']I´ve been reading all these posts with some interest and thought I´d chuck in my tuppence worth at this point.
Firstly, congratulations on a great portfolio of images. You have really captured that glowering atmosphere that is so prevalent in Iceland, as well as the near-miracles of beautiful evening light that occasionally relieve all that "algjört skita veður" (Daniel will understand!).
Iceland is posed with a great dilemma as it looks into the future. Although it is a very prosperous country with a GDP per capita figure that would be the envy of most of the developed world (it is emphatically a first world country) its economic success is effectively founded on two renewable resources: fish and electricity.
Iceland´s fish stocks are managed very carefully by the government with the aim of maintaining long-term sustainability. They have been very successful in so doing thus far, and we must hope that this remains the case. However, Iceland is just as vulnerable to climate change as anywhere else. We´ve seen the collapse of the cod fisheries in Newfoundland and the North Sea, mainly by overfishing, it´s true, but we hear increasingly dire predictions about the possible deflection southward of the Gulf Stream (without which Iceland would become a block of ice) if global warming continues apace. Anyway, it became apparent to the Icelandic government years ago that it was foolish to have all your eggs in one basket (fisheries were roughly 80% of exports in 1980, as opposed to 37% now).
The dam that Daniel refers to is massively controversial for the reasons that he stated, and one always has great sympathy for his line of argument - it would be hard-hearted to say otherwise. In fact, you might think of this dam as Iceland´s Hetch-Hetchy Reservoir that Ansel Adams so bitterly opposed. This valley, as Daniel will admit, is no tourism icon and was rarely visited by anybody, so I guess the calculation was made that if a valley had to be flooded this would be the lesser of many evils. Maybe.
The dilemma that Iceland faces is: If it were to happen that the fisheries collapse (possible, if only remotely so) or that tourism (23% of exports) reduces/collapses (easily possible, with the world economy on the brink as it is) or, God forbid, both happen, the nation will be left up the creek without a paddle. Big time. Where, but where, will a dependable income derive from?
That is why there are dams and smelters (3 of them!) in Iceland - it´s to give the economy a broader base and a safety net.
Iceland is virtually a second home to me and a place that I have great affection for. The people are a most sympathetic bunch, and justifiably proud of what they have achieved "up there".
I know I´m simplifying massively, but 100 years ago Iceland was one of the poorest countries you could conceive of, and unless it wants to risk returning at least part-way in that direction if the fishery fails the occasional compromise has to be made. And I wouldn´t call damming Dettifoss a compromise either!