Carbon Equity is a British campaign for action on climate change. CE recently published The Big Melt report, a review of all the 2007 literature and studies looking at the current condition of the Arctic ice.
According to the report “the Arctic sea ice is disintegrating 100 years ahead of schedule”, having dropped 22% this year below the previous low, and it may completely disappear as early as the summer of 2013. This is far beyond the predictions of the International Panel on Climate Change.
Rob Hopkins, one of the blogs I regularly read, says
[The Big Melt] does not make for comfortable reading, and indeed it adds enormous urgency to to need to reduce emissions. It argues that to speak of 2 degrees being a safe threshold is nonsense, that we haven’t yet reached 1 degree, but already the Arctic ice is melting 100 years ahead of when the IPCC predicted it would.
Rob makes a point of posting positive, action-oriented info on his blog, which is why I read it. He is active internationally in helping communities prepare for peak oil and global warming. I must warn you that he named his post about The Big Melt “The Single Most Depressing Thing I Have Ever Read.”
Sharon Astyk (another fovorite blogger) says about it: “If you are a sensitive sort, I strongly recommend reading it while clutching a teddy bear and having your back massaged.” It really is depressing.
Makes you want to dive right in, eh?
Here are the highlights:
• Climate change impacts are happening at lower temperature increases and more quickly than projected.
• The Arctic’s floating sea ice is headed towards rapid summer disintegration as early as 2013, a century ahead of the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) projections.
• The rapid loss of Arctic sea ice will speed up the disintegration of the Greenland ice sheet, and a rise in sea levels by as much as 5 metres by the turn of this century is possible.
• The Antarctic ice shelf reacts far more sensitively to warming temperatures than previously believed.
• Long-term climate sensitivity (including “slow” feedbacks such as carbon cycle feedbacks which are starting to operate) may be double the IPCC standard.
• Temperatures are now within ≈1°C of the maximum temperature of the past million years.
Are your eyes glazing over? Mine did. As the most intellectual species of the planet are humans being good stewards? Are we being Godly and ethical? Or, are we quickening the race to extinction. The dinosaurs were here for years. Humans haven’t been around even close to that long. In our quest for ease, comfort, materials, and the good life are we sprinting to the finish line, the final leg, the last leg, the home stretch to hell?
Melting arctic ice affects more than just polar bears, who are having a rough time these days by the way. A warmer Arctic changes global weather patterns that disrupt food production around the world. Melting glaciers and land-based ice sheets will contribute to rising sea levels, threatening low-lying areas with erosion, flooding, and contamination of freshwater supplies. Will the beach house still be there?
We all need to make personal changes to cut our carbon footprints, working toward 90%. We really need leadership to instigate sweeping policy changes, and radical and inspired conservation efforts on a federal level. However, I’m not holding my breath.