As Arctic Melts, Business As Usual

Record melting of Arctic ice has alarmed climate scientists, but the extraction industry and shippers are thrilled at new business prospects. Having drained world of most accessible oil, companies see in Arctic Circle a most striking source for long-term fossil-fuel development. Shipping companies plan direct routes to Asia. It’s high time governments wake up to real danger. A recent UN report projects Arctic summer ice to be non-existent by 2020. Climate researchers warn that the rapidly melting ice, with darker ocean waters that absorb the sun’s heat, will contribute to a shifting jet stream, creating new and unpredictable volatile weather patterns. International oil companies acknowledge the melting is an effect of global warming. Yet instead of being alarmed, countries such as US, Norway, Russia and even China are using the melting as a pretext for strategic benefit from global warming to gain new fossil supplies. Global-warming skeptics, free-market adamants, major companies and governments have quickly come to accept future climate change as a new normal. Few deny that climate change is underway. Whether governments and humans can take steps to stem their addiction and help the planet recover is real issue. In his 2006 environmental documentary, An Inconvenient Truth, former US Vice President Al Gore shows a scale. On one side is the earth, the other side, a sum of gold bricks. He presumes the world’s long-term health is considerably heavier than pile of gold bricks of economic interests and world governments would take concerted action to stop it. Wrong. Most countries remain silent to risks of climate change, their non-policies continue to ignore it. Short-term economic interests outweigh long-term economic security. Recent policy enactments, such as EU imposing carbon tax on airlines, were quickly shot down by China and India as a sovereignty infringement. Yet, air travel continues to grow exponentially with significant fossil fuel emissions. If the severe droughts, firestorms and floods of 2012 have not convinced policymakers of creeping problem, not much more can. This is a conundrum in today’s ecology and sociology: nominal recognition of a problem with changing weather patterns, yet governments quickly pushing through new and wider roads, airports, bridges and coal-fired plants to power their economies and meet surging demand. With fossil-fuel demand skyrocketing due to rising incomes in Asia and Africa, 2 correlated, disastrous scenarios, loom without changes in government energy policies: 1) With less than 5% of the global population, the US economy depends on 25% of the world’s energy. Other nations are in a hurry to catch up to US. It’s likely that the current rate of 400 ppm of atmospheric CO2 will rise to 450 ppm, 2) Within 16 years, or sooner at current fossil fuel burn rates, world will breach earth’s 565 gigatons absorption capacity of CO2. International Energy Agency predicts either situation can trigger global increase in temperature of more than 2°C (…..)

Link: http://yaleglobal.yale.edu/content/arctic-melts-business-usual

Acerca de ignaciocovelo
Consultor Internacional

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