Arctic on the Rocks

Friday, September 4th, 2009

I’ve got some good news for you, and some bad news.

It has to do with global warming, and since this is my weblog, I get to decide that I’m going to give you the bad news first. You probably didn’t hear about this – I know that I didn’t – but this past week has seen the World Climate Conference – 3 take place in Geneva, Switzerland. Journalist Richard Heuzé of the French conservative newspaper Le Figaro provides coverage and, as you can well imagine, the outlook is not good. It’s so “not good” that the conference participants had a wide array of things to choose from for panicking about.

On this particular occasion they happened to concentrate their foreboding on the state of the Arctic. Put simply, it’s much too warm there already. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon spoke to the conference just after actually conducting – as Heuzé puts it – his own “inspection tour of the North Pole,” and his tidings were dire. “The Arctic is warming up faster than the rest of the Earth. There could be no more ice there in 2030.” One rather daunting result of that could be the unleashing of a positive-feedback effect that would cause the global warming process to accelerate, whereby the warming Arctic permafrost releases massive amounts of heretofore trapped methane gas into the atmosphere, which traps heat at the Earth’s surface even more effectively. (more…)

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