The Latest On: Climate Change
New sunscreen rules keep consumers from getting burned
Since the GOP won a majority in the House in 2010, the Obama administration has gone into "go-slow" mode - or even has taken a U-turn on presidential initiatives on air pollution and climate change. The Los Angeles Times took aim at this in a tough May 20 editorial headlined: "In the 2012 campaign, environmentalists don't matter." It opens:
Polar bears may be the poster child for climate change, but our warming world is affecting flora and fauna up the food chain and down. Birds of prey are no exception. As temperatures change, some areas get drier, others get wetter—and the landscape that the birds have relied on and adapted to becomes increasingly foreign.
For many of us, the active lives of birds can be glimpsed only fleetingly (if at all) through carefully trained binoculars. Thankfully, the Internet—as it has with so many other mysteries of life—has stepped in to help us out.
The Arctic Sea Ice Blog earlier this month posted this alarming chart, showing polar sea ice on a downward trajectory. Based on computer models that incorporate observed sea-ice data, the Arctic Ocean could be entirely ice-free during the month of September by about 2016, and could be ice-free year-round by the early 2030s.
Some good things happened this last week at the Arctic Council ministerial meeting in Nuuk, Greenland, but the sense of urgency to protect the world’s last great wilderness from the ravages of resource extraction – and to slow Arctic warming and melting – was lacking.
Among the good things that happened in Nuuk:
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.
Polar bears are drowning. Huge glaciers are melting. Low-lying cities are worried. All because of climate change. But, when the eight nations of the "Arctic Council" meet next week, climate change won't be on their agenda—despite a frightening new report on climate change by the council's own task force.
Members of the council are those nations bordering the Arctic Ocean—the United States, Russia, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Canada, Denmark and Iceland.