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Arctic under threat

Exploring the threats to the Arctic region.

Greenpeace International

on 20 March 2012

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Transcript of Arctic under threat

Dive into the Arctic It's pretty, for sure and it's got amazing wildlife but it's in big, big trouble. The Arctic is over here: (Don't mix it up with its twin at the South, the Antarctic. It gets offended.) There are a lot of threats, but essentially, they fall in three categories: Climate change Ocean acidification Oil spills The most visible impact of climate change on the Arctic is the disappearing sea ice. Less sea ice means a disappearing habitat for the species that depend on it Sea ice loss doesn't impact sea levels...
but the melting of the Greenland ice sheet does. If the Greenland ice sheet were to melt completely, it could increase sea levels worldwide by up to eight metres. Worried yet? It gets worse. Feedback effects from the Arctic are accelerating climate change themselves. Ocean acidification is the other half of our carbon problem. As carbon dioxide dissolves more easily in cold water, polar oceans are more at risk from acidification... ... and tiny species like the sea butterfly, at the bottom of the food chain, are among the first affected. Climate change is not the only problem caused by carbon emissions, though.
It has an evil twin called... These fragile species are under a lot of stress already - and they are facing a new threat. Oil exploration Shipping As the sea-ice receeds, oil companies are seeing an opportunity to move into the Arctic and try to exploit the oil reserves - both onshore and offshore. The sea-ice, and extreme weather conditions make oil spill clean-ups very difficult. Open seas also mean more shipping. More shipping means more risks of grounding and oil spills. The Arctic, with its low population density, has less facilities than most seas of the planet to clean up such spills... ... and the Arctic countries seem to be more interested in carving up the Arctic than protecting it. Two things can cause oil spills: In the face of these threats... ... we have two options: A: Run around in despair and scream. OR B: Take action and fix it. (we prefer this one) We need a 5 step programme: 1. Put an immediate moratorium on industrial exploitation of the Arctic Ocean. 2. Stop all new offshore oil and gas drilling. 3. Make the International Maritime Organisation Polar guidelines mandatory (so that shipping in the Arctic becomes safer). 4. Stop looking at the Arctic as something that needs to be carved up and more as something that needs to be protected. 5. Stop climate change (which arguably needs its own 5 step programme). Are you with us? See you at greenpeace.org/arctic Frozen ocean surrounded by land. Frozen land surrounded by oceans. As the white ice melts, more heat is absorbed by the dark ocean - and makes the water warmer. The warmer air also melts the permafrost (permanently frozen ground) that traps methane, a very potent greenhouse gas. More greenhouse gases means more global warming. As global warming becomes more intense, more ice melts.
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