Monday, August 20, 2012

Arctic Ice Cap Collapse: Where Polar Bears See Crisis, Big Oil Sees Opportuniy

Global warming is pushing Arctic Sea ice cover towards new record lows:
The area of ocean covered by ice shrank to 4.93 million square kilometers (1.9 million square miles) on average for the five days through Aug. 15, according to the latest data from the U.S. National Snow and Ice Data Center in Boulder, Colorado. With as many as five weeks of the annual melt season left, it’s already the fourth-lowest annual minimum ever measured.

“Unless the melting really, really slows down, there’s a very real chance of a record,” Walt Meier, a research scientist at the NSIDC, said in a telephone interview. “In the last week or so it’s dropped precipitously. There’s definitely a chance it’ll dip below 4 million square kilometers.”

The shrinkage is the most visible sign of global warming according to Meier, and raises the prospect that the Arctic Ocean may become largely ice free in the summer. That opens up new shipping routes and is sparking a race for resources that’s led to Cairn Energy Plc (CNE) and Royal Dutch Shell Plc (RDSA) exploring waters off Greenland for oil and gas.
Needless to say, the combination of melting ice and new drilling would be double trouble for America's polar bears.

So to recap, global warming driven by carbon emissions from the burning of fossil fuels is melting the Arctic ice cap, and how do we react? By letting the oil companies that have made huge profits from their ability to release unlimited carbon pollution (and used those profits to fight climate science) move into the melted areas to drill for more fossil fuels.

Meanwhile, Congress is reacting to drought conditions approaching Dust Bowl levels by moving to gut post-Dust Bowl soil conservation programs. If Jared Diamond wants to write a sequel to Collapse we're giving him plenty of material.

As CREDO Action says, "The Arctic has never been drilled for oil, not even under President George W. Bush." Will President Barack Obama be the one to sign the order? Tell President Obama to say no to Arctic drilling.
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