Arctic discovery confirms impact of global warmingChina
The Toronto Star
It’s no wonder Ottawa won’t do anything to reduce climate change. The warming Earth has made a dream come true for federal Environment Minister Jim Prentice.
“I’m elated,” Prentice is reported to have exclaimed when informed HMS Investigator, a British ship that sank 155 years ago while searching for Sir John Franklin’s doomed Northwest Passage expedition, had been found in the cold western Arctic Ocean.
Parks Canada staff had no trouble finding the well-preserved remains of the 400-tonne vessel with the ocean ice-free this summer — a situation first reported only in 2007.
Prentice is apparently an Investigator buff, and reviewed a book about its unsuccessful voyage last winter. Had the ocean remained frozen, the ship would continue to rest unseen, 11 metres below the surface.
Climate change will unseal many other Arctic treasures over the next few years. Most important — less romantic but incomparably more lucrative than an old boat — are oil and gas deposits.
This week, three fossil-fuel giants — Imperial Oil, its parent Exxon Mobil and Louisiana’s favourite, BP — announced they’ve joined forces to more efficiently look for deposits under the Beaufort Sea.
Natural Resources Canada recently revealed plans to map the seabed under Lancaster Sound, the Eastern Arctic entrance to the Northwest Passage; a task that will help to determine what resources might be there.
All this comes during a steamy summer when you’d suppose humankind has decided to embark on a grand global experiment: We’ll ignore the clear warnings and evidence and just see what happens as we keep dumping far more greenhouse gases into the atmosphere than the planet’s oceans and other natural systems can absorb. The most recent alarm arrived last week from 300 top climate scientists, whose spokesperson stated, “The facts speak for themselves . . . and they all point toward the same conclusion: the globe is warming.”
Are the fires torching hot and dry British Columbia and Russia, Pakistan’s record floods and the newly reported century-long decline of plankton — the tiny creatures that support the oceans’ food chain — early results of the disastrous human experiment? We don’t know yet, but we’re acting determined to find out.
The U.S. Senate has abandoned even its weak-kneed effort to pass legislation aimed at reducing climate change. As a result, Canada is off the hook and the United Nations-sponsored global talks are moribund, since other major emitters won’t move until the Americans do.
The House of Representatives did approve legislation that responds to BP’s massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, but only after removing a temporary moratorium on the very deepwater drilling that produced the disaster. Among the strongest opponents of any attempt to curb fossil-fuel development were the Gulf Coast states that complained of being ravaged by the spew of oil.
The Americans’ Environmental Protection Agency says it will achieve some of the climate legislation’s aims by imposing tough regulations on polluters, including new emission rules for some Midwest coal-fuelled power plants that worsen the GTA’s air pollution.
A report this week by the Washington-based World Resources Institute concludes: “If they act aggressively, and if EPA’s authority is preserved, the federal government and states can put the United States on a near-term course to considerably reduce greenhouse gas emissions, but longer-term reductions remain uncertain.”
Those are two huge “ifs” to overcome — the Obama administration is cowering and the EPA will be challenged by Congress and in court battles expected to last years — for results that, as the Institute suggests, will fall far short of what’s required.
The Investigator story is more warning than celebration. For all the feel-good elements, it’s a signpost of a human experiment that makes no sense to conduct.
El contenido de las noticias que se presentan en esta sección es responsabilidad directa de las agencias emisoras de noticias y no necesariamente reflejan la posición del Gobierno de México en este u otros temas relacionados.
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