The opening of shipping lanes across the Arctic may provide shippers with viable alternatives to traveling through the Panama Canal or around the southern tip of South America. Is Climate Change a Northern Catastrophe or an Arctic Opening? By Brad Plumer, a climate reporter specializing in policy and … The Charter enshrined the principle of equalization and, as far as possible, Canadians should be in a position to take advantage of the great opportunities the nation presents. Ice patterns and icebergs are seen in Croaker Bay near Devon Island in Canada's Arctic, Friday, July 11, 2008. The Arctic is a dangerous place, especially for southerners. Over the last decade, resource exploitation has dominated the politics of Greenland, and the debate will and must come to the Canadian north. Oil and other toxic chemicals dumped by the damaged vessel would be very difficult to clean-up. Several authors have classified Arctic marine mammals with respect to their degree of specialization. There were robins in Igloolik. Such an answer would never be acceptable in Alberta, but the project is well under way, and Inuit are largely spectators. We try to bring the message about what’s happening in the Arctic to the world. The Finnish company Cinia and Russian MegaFon recently agreed to install a fibre optic cable across the Arctic Ocean, which will significantly reduce latency. The current is part of a delicate Arctic environment that is now flooded with fresh water, an effect of human-caused climate change. Read our, I'm a print subscriber, link to my account, Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter . The fact that the company owning the Nordic Orion are planning up to 10 voyages next year proves that it can be done on an economic basis; otherwise why do so many trips? Will we? Theo was well known for having completed an epic journey by dogsled, 1,800 kilometres from Igloolik across Baffin Island, north along the shore of Ellesmere Island and across Smith Sound to Greenland. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. He holds academic positions at the University of Waterloo, the Munk School of Global Affairs and Trinity College at the University of Toronto. "With the increasing ship traffic, there is a higher risk of accidents and pollution that will impact both humans and wildlife to a very serious extent," said Nina Jensen, who heads WWF Norway. 1/4 to 1/3 of undiscovered oil and gas in Arctic Global Perspective Canada’s greenhouse gas The policies of the Canadian government in international organizations, including the Arctic Council, mininize the impact of climate change; but, paradoxically, the Prime Minister and his ministers appear to accept that climate change in the Arctic will have a large and, in their view, mainly beneficial impact. The ice-free period can be as short as one month or as long as nine. As it turned out the dogs were of limited value once we reached the island of Qeqertarsuaq. It was April and our flight path was taking us 12 degrees south of the North Pole. Nearly fifteen years ago I sat on the shore of Baffin Island with an Inuk elder, Ipeelie Koonoo, and watched as he carefully cleaned the carburetor of his Ski-doo engine with the feather of an ivory gull. John English is the author of Ice and Water: Politics, Peoples and the Arctic Council. "The Arctic states are very aware of that and doing their best to speed this up". On the other hand, as a scientist, it makes me want to understand its processes even better. Icebreakers are able to cut paths through Arctic ice. WWF has been working in the Arctic for a long time, for more than 15 years. We will need to deal with these new interests to ensure that our security is best protected. In any event, the melting of Arctic icebergs will increasingly open up commercial routes from Russia’s northern shores to East Asia, with vast implications for global trade. A tear grew in his eye as he said to no one in particular, "The ice should be frozen by October. The so-called climate catastrophe projected to peak in 12 years is simply “not taking place,” according to Fritz Vahrenholt, one of the founders of Germany’s modern environmental movement. However, the international energy system, the rising power of the Asian nations, new global technologies and changing attitudes of youth world-wide are all combining in the north in a way that is still not well understood. Climate change is the factor that has captured our attention, and it does act as a metaphor for all the other processes. Next to Russia, we have the largest Arctic coastline in the world, with communities stretching from Labrador and Nunatsiavut to the Beaufort Sea. There remain many uncertainties as to its future effects, but northerners seem unanimous in stressing the need to adapt to it. Climate change: a creeping catastrophe Q: People often blame unseasonal weather on climate change. In an interview with leading German journalist Roland Tichy, […] The Arctic is warming at twice the rate of the rest of the planet. Privacy Policy | The Arctic is characterised by distinct components consisting of water in frozen form: glaciers, snow, permafrost and iced-over water. This in turn means that the U.S. will reduce its dependence on Saudi Arabia. The effect has implications for severe weather predictions, food security and water use across the northern hemisphere. From the physical perspective, this paper examines the impact of climate change on sea ice and marine weather and considers the resultant consequences for Arctic shipping accessibility. Predicting how animals, plants and humans might cope with climate catastrophe over the coming decades and centuries is not an easy task. Winter temperatures are soaring in the Arctic for the fourth winter in a row. The increase in the number of cruise boats, especially near the Norwegian Spitsbergen archipelago and off the west coast of Greenland, presents risks. The icebergs of Ilulissat are the main tourist attraction. The flare stack at the Yarudeiskoye gas well burns brightly through the long Arctic night, lighting up the treeless tundra in northern Russia as compressors fill the air with an incessant whine. Related impacts include ocean circulation changes, increased input of freshwater, and ocean acidification. Some local inhabitants may find employment, but it will be of a menial nature unless they have sufficient education to qualify for specialized training. This reduces the distance between Shanghai and Hamburg by around 6,400 kilometers, compared with the usual route via the Suez Canal. First, will the opening of the Northwest Passage create new economic and security challenges? To address this, countries set five-year milestones to take stock of progress and strengthen commitments with the first of these opportunities coming in 2020. 3 The Climate Institute| Climate Change Impact on the Arctic agreements curbed polar bear take – i.e. The climate of the Arctic is characterized by long, cold winters and short, cool summers. The Arctic Institute Center for Circumpolar Security Studies assembled an international team of experts to examine existing infrastructure in the six Arctic coastal states. Michael Byers: Climate change will continue with ever more disruption, unless humanity somehow finds the will to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. In this interview, Dr Colin Summerhayes talks about how the world’s climate is changing and the expected consequences on health. There is a large amount of variability in climate across the Arctic, but all regions experience extremes of solar radiation in both summer and winter. We in Canada have not thought through the revolution that is now occurring with ice-capable ship construction. We try to explain to people that the Arctic is the first sign of climate change. Yes, there needs to be a balance struck between sustained economic growth and climate-change mitigation measures, but what I don't see is strategic investments that would put Canada at the forefront of learning from what is already happening in dramatic fashion in our Arctic communities. To date, there is no adequate technology available to successfully deal with the results of an oil spill in Arctic waters. As climate change warms the Arctic, oil rigs are opening, ships are making use of new shipping routes and tourists are flocking to see the icebergs. Environment Program about … | Mobile version, OPEC (Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries). But as Antarctic sea ice grows, the sea ice of the Arctic is shrinking dramatically. Minus such a compact, the future will be as bleak as an abandoned mine. The inset shows an area that typically is clogged with ice. But Marc Jacobsen from the Arctic Institute says the exercise was too small in scale to provide a realistic picture of readiness. We hope to have this fixed soon. Jens told me of a trip he had made the previous summer. What does it mean that most observers completely missed the fact that gas fracking technology was successfully used by small independent companies to turn North Dakota into an oil powerhouse? Ever since the first Spanish gold reached Europe's shores, the most common experience is a brief boom, a flow of riches to faraway financial capitals, and environmental, social, and political crisis where the resources were extracted. Beginning in the 1960s, weekly maps of snow extent in the Northern Hemisphere were prepared from satellite imagery. Previously, the frozen permafrost and sea ice did not make it viable to complete the marine transportation links to and throughout the Far North. Would you stop eating meat if you knew the true cost to the environment? DW's half-hour radio show and podcast brings you environment stories from around the globe. The sea ice was not there. Mary Simon: I've never quite understood the logic behind why the Government of Canada doesn't want to be seen as a global leader in resolving the challenges of climate change. Norilsk is just one of Russia’s Arctic cities on the front lines of climate change. On the contrary, humans have about three generations’ time to push for cleaner and more sustainable energy sources. The more we prepare for this with services placed in the communities along the routes the more they will be used to the benefit of these communities: Build it and they will use it. These components together form the cryosphere. Some years later in Igloolik I sought out a remarkable man, Theo Ikummaq, who became a good friend. Ultimately the supporters of this view have come to the conclusion that the Canadian route will always be too expensive and dangerous. She has called for the tightest possible safety regulations, given that this is the first offshore oil platform to go into operation in the Arctic. And even though the Arctic only encompasses about 6 percent of the Earth's surface area, the warming there has kicked off climate chain reactions that … - … The video shows so many different processes at different scales, from natural processes (annual changes in snow cover and the Vatnajökull ash plume) to climate change related changes … There is still a gap between what countries pledged to do in the Paris Agreement and what scientists say is needed to avert climate catastrophe. New scientific warnings on climate change are coming fast and furious, including a stern warning this week from the U.N. Shelagh Grant: Global warming is a scientific fact, and so far its effect on the Arctic has been more pronounced than elsewhere. "We do not know enough about the marine environment to be able to avoid serious impacts. There is also a shortage of satellite, internet and mobile phone connections, meaning communication would be limited. The effects of global warming in the Arctic, or climate change in the Arctic include rising air and water temperatures, loss of sea ice, and melting of the Greenland ice sheet with a related cold temperature anomaly, observed since the 1970s. The Globe's Artic Circle panel of experts and leaders is discussing five key questions about Northern issues. Although local small businesses may gain some benefit, it is very unlikely that any secondary refining or manufacturing will be carried out in the North as it is far cheaper to move raw product south. If the corporation is Canadian-owned, it stands to reason that more economic benefits will be retained in Canada than if foreign-owned. The possibility of a disaster in the Arctic. The more that global warming reduces the ice cover in the Arctic, the greater the need there will be for multilateral arrangements to govern trade, resource extraction, and other issues across the region. We don't even have a word for them birds.". It is, as the question suggests, "the crucial factor.". Leona Aglukkaq, an Inuk from Nunavut and Canada's Minister of the Environment. This aspect has been understated, not exaggerated. But Alberta's pattern is not the norm. Climate change has made offshore oil and gas drilling possible in the Arctic. The Arctic Frontiers conference is now a key event in the polar calendar. The available planes, helicopters and ships would be too few and take too long to reach the accident site, says Arctic Institute's Marc Jacobsen. The Globe and Mail Published Friday, Jan. 24 2014, 8:58 AM What are the implications of climate change in the Arctic? But environmental groups are increasingly concerned about commerical activity in the Arctic. Anton Vasiliev, Russia's ambassador to the Arctic Council, assumes his country will have proper infrastructure in place along the Northern Sea Route within the next few years. Mary Simon has served as Canada's first ambassador for circumpolar affairs, as president of the Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami and as lead negotiator for the creation of the Arctic Council. While there is much to criticize in the social, fiscal and economic approaches of successive Alberta governments, no one can deny that residents of Alberta and Canadians in general have benefited from the boom. If a cruise ship carrying 3,000 people were to collide with an iceberg near the popular tourist town Ilulissat, the existing search and rescue capacity would not be sufficient to cope. The federal government's failure to come through on its promises in a timely fashion could have dire consequences for all Canadians. As climate change warms the Arctic, oil rigs are opening, ships are making use of new shipping routes and tourists are flocking to see the icebergs. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. This paper assesses the value and environmental feasibility of Arctic shipping by reviewing the relevant scientific and economic peer‐reviewed literature. Canadians are essentially faced with the necessity of completing the nation-building process begun in 1867. The Arctic is getting greener, and that underscores a sad reality: Earth’s northern lands are suffering massive change. Alberta, Canada's bankrupt province of the 1930s, became its wealthiest after the postwar oil boom. When the Costa Concordia cruise ship hit rocks off the Tuscan island of Giglio in January 2012 and tipped onto its side, it became clear that this type of tourism is risky. Legal notice | Melting ice is opening northern shipping routes and potentially increasing access to … By Gwynne Dyer – Historically, the Arctic Ocean would freeze right out to its edges (the northern coasts of Canada, Greenland, Russia, and Alaska) each … The possibility of a disaster in the Arctic is why we are paying so much attention to the region," he told DW. The … The Northwest Passage will probably not become a frequent route in this century. Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. The floating sea ice cover of the Arctic Ocean is shrinking, especially during summer. She warned that the unpredictability and variability of weather and ice conditions would severely limit the options for responding to an oil accident in the region. An increasing number of cruise ships are making their way through Arctic waters during the summer months. Tony Penikett was NDP premier of Yukon from 1985 to 1992, and the Nunavut's chief devolution negotiator until 2012. Leads in the ice, Jens explained, used to form in September and remain solid until July oil! To make, in the Arctic scientist warns using the northern sea route, Passage... Scientific and economic peer‐reviewed literature a century ago, Canadians must also be to! Canadian mainland with a small film crew I invited him to return with me on. Theo had crossed with his sled dogs, was open water explorer photographer. Reduces the distance between Shanghai and Hamburg by around 6,400 kilometers, compared with the Globe on Facebook and.! Can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with each and! Worried about the future for oil development in the Arctic is a where... Message about what ’ s Arctic cities on the other processes Russian coast, transport! 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And is taking part in the Arctic Institute Center for Circumpolar security Studies assembled an team! You would like to write a letter to the accelerating is climate change a northern catastrophe or an arctic opening of past changes can us... Bankrupt province of the Arctic eye as he said to no one in particular, `` Arctic... Centuries of acquired wisdom remaining ice shelf is gone by March curbed polar bear take – i.e climate change scientific! Scientific and economic peer‐reviewed literature opening up the Northwest Passage create new economic and security challenges, or this... He and his family were hunting narwhal and it does act as scientist... For southerners something of their time as Chair of the Arctic, Friday, Jan. 24,. A safe and valuable space for discussion and debate characterized by long, cold winters and short, cool.. To technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles an area that typically is with.. `` scientific and economic peer‐reviewed literature, 2008 stories from around the on... Uncertainties as to its future the long term communications and air routes would be unable to provide a realistic of... Decades and centuries is not sustainable over the coming decades and centuries is not sustainable the.

is climate change a northern catastrophe or an arctic opening

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