Thursday, April 21, 2016

US-Canada Pact Eases Arctic Fears

The Transocean Polar Pioneer, a semi-submersible drilling unit leased by Shell, was used to explore Arctic deposits. (Photograph Credit: Daniella Beccaria/AP) Click to Enlarge.
A joint pledge by the US and Canada to reduce methane emissions for oil and gas activities in the Arctic and limit fossil fuel extraction is putting pressure on Russia to follow suit.

The pledge was in response to increasing concern across the world at the intention of the eight nations with territorial claims in the Arctic to exploit its resources, even though this risks making climate change far worse.

At the poles, the Earth is warming twice as fast as the global average.  In the Arctic this is disrupting the way of life of about 13 million people – including about 10 per cent who are indigenous – and adversely affecting countless other organisms.

Increased ice melt is opening new sea routes from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean, and is tempting oil and gas companies to dream about new fossil fuel riches onshore and offshore in the warming environment.

More shipping and an extraction boom will not only release more greenhouse gases, but also add to the Arctic’s burden of black carbon, or soot, which darkens land and ice, further speeding up melting.

Thus the Arctic is in the ironic position of being the most vulnerable populated region to climate change and also an untapped trove of climate change’s primary cause.

Read more at US-Canada Pact Eases Arctic Fears

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