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Melting of Greenland A Warning For The Planet

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View Erika Rosenthal's blog posts
18 May 2011, 6:54 AM
Arctic Council must take lead in urging world action on climate change
NASA depiction of rapidly melting Greenland ice cap

From the Kangerlussuaq airport, at 67 degrees North in Greenland...

It’s four hours to New York and five to Moscow, but only three to the North Pole. People are speaking Danish and the language of the Inuit people. I’m writing at the airport on my way home from the Arctic Council ministerial meeting, held in the capital, Nuuk, about 45 minutes south by plane. The Greenlandic landscape is stark and beautiful and resplendent in ice and snow over the rolling hills and craggy mountains.

Greenland is poised to soon become the newest nation on Earth – the first to achieve sovereignty because of climate change, melting ice allowing for increased access to oil and mineral resources that will generate revenues to run the country and finalize independence from Denmark.

It is part of the fragile Arctic ecosystem whose future not only will determine the survival of the extraordinary indigenous cultures and wildlife of the region, but will affect climate globally. As Patricia Cochran & Sheila Watt-Cloutier, both former chairs of the Inuit Circumpolar Council have written: “All the people of the globe rely on the Arctic’s cold.”

Arctic climate change affects the world.A report issued by the Arctic Council monitoring program for the ministerial meeting. shows that unexpectedly rapid melting of the Greenland Ice Sheet is a major contributor to a predicted 1 to 1.5 meter sea level rise this century– which would cause unimaginable damage and suffering, displacing millions of people in coastal and low-lying areas around the world.

But another report released for the ministerial by an Arctic Council Task Force on Short-lived Climate Forcers (along with one from the United Nations Environment Program) indicates that Arctic ice melt can be significantly slowed in the next few decades by curbing air pollution like soot.

Powerful but short-lived global warming pollutants like soot –known as black carbon – from trucks, ships and biomass burning, and methane from oil and gas drilling and landfills, last in the atmosphere for only a short time – days to a few years, compared to the 100 years or more for carbon dioxide. And they may account for up to 40 percent of Arctic melting.

This means that reducing emissions of these short-lived pollutants can provide urgently needed fast climate benefit for the Arctic in the near-term, as the world moves to cut carbon dioxide.
Unfortunately, neither report was officially on the agenda at the ministerial meeting. The Arctic Council countries were more concerned with smaller but still important issues, such as the strengthening of the council to evolve it into a true multilateral organization for the Arctic.

Recognition of the need to take action on black carbon from Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and other foreign ministers is a key step in the right direction, but not enough given the overwhelming urgency to take action to reduce black carbon emissions and slow the warming and melting in the Arctic. To do nothing may spell extinction for the iconic species of the region like walrus and polar bear. The resulting sea level rise would be, in the words of Clinton, “potentially calamitous” for the rest of the world.

Clinton showed great leadership on black carbon at the ministerial meeting, noting in her remarks that the Task Force report proposed a range of responses to reduce emissions, including retrofitting old, polluting diesel engines, and stopping springtime agricultural burning. She stated that the legally binding agreement that the ministers would sign that day – on cooperation with search and rescue operations in the Arctic – was only the first agreement negotiated, and that there would be more. She hoped the Arctic countries would reach consensus to act on the Task Force’s recommendation.

Earthjustice will be working with our allies in the Arctic, indigenous organizations, environmental organizations and governments to help make Clinton’s vision a reality – before it’s too late for the Arctic, and for all of us who rely on the Arctic’s cold.


It is true that to the casual observer, it is hard to see Global Warming that is going on around us. The changes are very slight year to year. But the changes accumulate. In Chicago, Lake Michigan was once a very cold lake to swim in even in August. Now, it gets to 72F each summer and is quite nice to swim in.

Same for Greenland. We know the melting has increased because we have measured it. Could a person see the difference from one year to the next? Probably not. You can't see your child's growth day-to-day, but that doesn't mean its not happening, and that it is not profound.

Remember, the climatologists are not saying the impact of Global Warming will be significant right now. It will have its impact in generations to come. Unfortunately for us, by the time enough people and politicians decide something really does need to be done, it will be too late.

How unfortunate that the ignorant peddlers of lies and gross stupidity have found this site.

The only comment that I would wish to add is that the author, like many, believe that there is an interest among the elites and the powerful in doing the right thing. There is not. There only interest is in exploiting the resources the ice melt uncovers.

Business and greed drove development of cruise missiles, cancer causing chemical cocktails, land mine technology, nuclear weapons, germ warfare, cluster bombs, strip mining technology, deep sea drilling technology, not scientists.

Greed is driving "manmade global warming".

How often do global warming scientists have to have failed predictions and in how many ClimateGate emails do global warming scientists have to reveal their dirty tactics before global warming believes stop believing?

Looks like the climate denial flying-monkey brigade is still in operation.

How will these people face their grandchildren when global weirding is forcing millions of climate refugees around the planet to leave their ancestral homes forever?

It was much warmer on earth 1000 years ago during the Medieval Warm Period. The area of Greenland where Vikings then lived and grew crops is now permafrost where crops cannot be grown. And the warmth of that time was global. There are geological studies from every continent of the earth showing it was.

There is no alarming melting of Greenland taking place.

Former believers are now the voting majority and the new denier is anyone who still thinks voters will now vote yes to taxing the air to make the weather colder. So scientists saying climate change is real, can study the effects of a crisis that never happened all they want but it still won’t make climate change real. Don’t forget, it was scientists who also brought us cruise missiles, cancer causing chemical cocktails, land mine technology, nuclear weapons, germ warfare, cluster bombs, strip mining technology, Y2K, Y2Kyoto, deep sea drilling technology and now climate control. And how ironic is it that it was the scientists themselves that originally polluted the planet with their pesticides and cancer causing chemicals they created, thus making environmentalism necessary in the first place.
Obama didn’t even mention the crisis in his state of the union speech and all American IPCC funding has been pulled and since the countless thousands of consensus scientists have been silent after having their warnings ignored, one can only conclude that it was all media hype. You know it’s all hype when the media takes the crisis more seriously than the scientists who should have been marching in the streets to bring back support for CO2 mitigation.
Life is good. We are living longer than at any time in history as a species and with climate doom gone we can now look forward to the future of progress with courage, not fear. We can celebrate a half century of environmental achievements that defeated the smoggy 70’s when a river caught fire in Ohio and celebrate environmental laws, awareness, standards and legislation that will continue to protect and conserve the Natural world.
Now is the time to celebrate the environment, not condemn it and our children to a death by CO2.

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