Even though the story has already been broken by Greenpeace and the Guardian, it’s expected to be made official this week that the Arctic ice sheet has now reached its lowest thickness in the history of humanity, beating the previous 2007 global low.
In my mind there can no longer be any doubt that we’re experiencing a climate emergency of the highest order, and our government’s focus should based on these latest findings and make this climate emergency their number one concern. The rest of us have to be clear about what this mean to us, and understand that even though the Arctic seems quite distant from us, it is crucially important to us as it dictates the temperature of our planet. It’s also important that if we were to get an extreme cold winter this year we do not jump on the Daily Mail bandwagon, who will quite likely be proclaiming that climate change can’t be happening when we have such cold winters, but instead look at that the experts are now warning us that due precisely to the extreme pace of Arctic melting that disturbs the jet stream that means we could get an extreme cold winter.
The irony of all this is that we don’t seem to get the point. It’s absolutely insane by governments to allow oil exploration in the Arctic just because it’s becoming more accessible as the ice melts. It became accessible due to climate change and now we’re drilling for more of the same stuff that caused that melting. Therefore I’m proud to wholeheartedly support the brave decision by Greenpeace to defend the Arctic from the two main drill challengers; Shell in the Alaskan Arctic and Gazprom in the Russian Arctic.
Kirstie Wielandt, Arctic ship tour manager for Greenpeace International says: ‘’From all accounts, the scientists on board our ice breaker in the high Norwegian Arctic, have never seen anything like the extreme ice melt they are witnessing as we speak – the situation is more extreme than even the satellites are showing. No matter how we look at it, something unprecedented IS occurring in the Arctic, the ‘planets refrigerator’, which WILL lead to unpredictable, temperamental weather patterns, not just in the northern hemisphere but across the planet. If we’ve not already reached a tipping point we are on the cusp of doing so and the only certainty is uncertainty, the days of being able to predict seasons and weather patterns are largely over. I sincerely hope this vital movement to save the Arctic from exploitation has come in time to make a difference to future generations. We’ll keep fighting the good fight regardless, simply because it’s unquestionably the right thing to do.”
I related news Shell has today announced that it’s for this year is grounding Arctic drilling to a halt, due to a series of setbacks. Though this will please environmentalists and myself included, we should be pleased but this is just one step, and believe me Shell will be back next year and that’s why it’s even more important that we keep piling on the pressure on them and telling them that drilling in the Arctic is totally unacceptable.
But we need more, we really need governments to look at the evidence of the record ice melt that climate change is here. We need drastic measures, we need politicians to understand the urgency and to ban oil, gas and in some cases mining exploration as well as unsustainable industry fishing in the region. The Arctic countries must table a plan with an ambition to do this immediately, it should be the number one priority in the Arctic council & the issue they are preoccupied with about who should own the part of the Arctic that no country currently has ownership on including the North Pole should also end immediately and instead the countries should in partnership find a way to keep protecting that part of the Arctic and their own part for future generations.