There’s nothing like a good graphic to help emphasize that we live in abnormal times. Sure, this is still more disaster porn. But it is justified. The key point in this latest NOAA report (apart from the mounting evidence that climate change is happening fast, and that entire eco-systems will have trouble adapting) is that Arctic ice melt presages Greenland ice melt. And it is the Greenland ice that, if and when melted, will raise sea levels by about, um….25 feet.
Another example of the climate change-carbon economy loop, in which burning carbon leads to warming which in turn leads to new fossil fuel economy opportunities.
In this example, the reduction in Arctic sea ice is opening the northwest and northeast passages to fuel shipping. The first liquid natural gas tanker recently left Norway, and is headed toward Japan, escorted by a Russian nuclear-powered icebreaker:
“It’s an extraordinarily interesting adventure,” Tony Lauritzen, commercial director at Dynagas, told BBC News.
“The people on board have been seeing polar bears on the route. We’ve had the plans for a long time and everything has gone well.”
Mr Lauritzen says that a key factor in the decision to use the northern route was the recent scientific record on melting in the Arctic.
“We have studied lots of observation data – there is an observable trend that the ice conditions are becoming more and more favourable for transiting this route. You are able to reach a highly profitable market by saving 40% of the distance, that’s 40% less fuel used as well.”
Forty percent less fuel burned is good, I guess. But the whole thing, along with Arctic oil drilling, reminds me of a cartoon I posted on my Facebook page earlier today.