#Arctic
Alaska’s Bowhead Whales Are MIA, Leaving Eskimos Short of Key Source of Food

Alaska’s Bowhead Whales Are MIA, Leaving Eskimos Short of Key Source of Food

Alaskan Native Tribes began their annual bowhead whale hunt over a month ago, but so far in Utqiagvik the whalers have seen no whales — this is unprecedented — last year at this point in the hunt these Alaskans had already landed 20.  This was the warmest summer ever and there is less ice offshore according to the Alaska Center for Climate Assessment and Policy, which many believe is causing the whales to migrate much farther away from shore.

Why This Matters:  Because of warmer temperatures in the Arctic, fish that used to remain farther south are moving into the region, with big implications for food security in Alaska and beyond.

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Corporations Pledge No Arctic Shipping, As New Islands Emerge in Melting Russian Arctic

Corporations Pledge No Arctic Shipping, As New Islands Emerge in Melting Russian Arctic

The Russian navy confirmed on Wednesday the discovery of new islands in their Arctic waters that have emerged as the glaciers around them melted.  And yesterday, a group of corporations led by Nike and the conservation group Ocean Conservancy announced the launch of the Arctic Shipping Corporate Pledge under which they agree not to intentionally ship goods through the Arctic shipping routes that are opening up as a result of the same melting.

Why This Matters:  This is why the Arctic Shipping Pledge could not come at a better time — when the pressure to increase shipping there, with associated ice risks and pollution, is increasing.  Adopting the “precautionary principle” with shipping in the Arctic is the best thing to do, and is consistent with an international agreement banning commercial fishing in the high Arctic that is already in place.

 

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Trump Administration Claims In Arctic Drilling Assessment That There Is No Climate Crisis

Trump Administration Claims In Arctic Drilling Assessment That There Is No Climate Crisis

E&E News reported on Monday that the Trump administration states it its Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) in favor of oil and gas leasing in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge that the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) – the agency responsible for EIS – “does not agree that the proposed development is inconsistent with maintaining a livable planet (i.e., there is not a climate crisis).”

Why This Matters:  This is yet another sign that the Trump Administration is ignoring the overwhelming opinion of expert scientists — the U.N. IPCC Oceans and Cryosphere report from last week is full of examples of how the Arctic region is being severely impacted by climate change caused by fossil fuel use.

  • It is also highly likely that the BLM silenced its own scientists in the process of drafting the ANWR EIS.
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President Trump Pushes To Open Pristine Alaska Forest To Logging

President Trump Pushes To Open Pristine Alaska Forest To Logging

Twenty years ago, President Clinton put a large area of pristine Alaskan rain forest off-limits to logging, but President Trump is now apparently set to open parts of the 16.7 million-acre Tongass National Forest up again, according to The Washington Post.  The President spoke to Alaska’s Governor and then directed the Secretary of Agriculture, who manages national forest lands, to lift the restrictions on road building, which in effect banned logging and other development there.

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Greenland Ice Melt Is A Huge Story

In early August, Greenland lost between12 and 24 billion tons of ice each day, which, The Washington Post reported was about 6 to 18 billion tons greater than the typical rates seen during the same dates during the time period from 1981-2010.  According to The Post, the melt season overall — which has about 35 to 40 days to go — is poised to set a new and more significant record, the 2012 record ice loss, which reached 300 billion tons of surface ice mass loss from Greenland.

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Wildfires in Siberia Force Government To Declare An Emergency

Wildfires in Siberia Force Government To Declare An Emergency

Wildfires raging across Siberia this year have reached historic levels — It is estimated that the fires released 300 megatonnes of carbon dioxide in July, the most since satellite records began around two decades ago. In response, the government declared a state of emergency for five regions of Siberia — with the “acrid smoke” impacting both small settlements and “major cities in Western Siberia and the Altai region as well as the Urals such as Chelyabinsk and Yekaterinburg,” and even disrupting air travel. 

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Alaska Burns Due to Vicious Heat Wave

Alaska Burns Due to Vicious Heat Wave

Extreme temperatures in Alaska are causing an outbreak of explosive wildfires throughout the state, with Fairbanks, Anchorage experiencing its warmest March to date, as reported recently by Our Daily Planet. Just in the week of July 3rd, more than 600,000 acres of lands burned – doubling the year-to-date burn total which now sits at 1.28 million acres. By the end of the year, it is estimated that 2 million to 3 million acres will have been engulfed in flames. Fires are not only getting more frequent, but increasingly bigger and harder to contain. In Anchorage, the Hess Creek fire is now the largest fire in the U.S. at over 149,000 acres. 

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One Funny Thing: Hey! On Pompeo’s Ridiculous Climate Comments

Late night commentator Seth Meyers and MSNBC Anchor Chris Hayes both took a minute to make “light” of Secretary of State Pompeo’s speech at the Arctic Council Meeting on Monday in which Pompeo listed all the “blessings” that the melting ice provides.  Hayes had a devastating riff on the speech noting the irony of Pompeo […]

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Secretary Pompeo’s Arctic Council Climate Denial

At a meeting of Foreign Ministers from all the Arctic Nations held Monday and Tuesday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo refused to sign a previously negotiated declaration of support by the nations for their joint strategy and cooperation plan in this key region because it involved working to address climate change impacts in the region.  […]

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Arctic Melting Increasing, As Are Costs Of Dealing With It

Arctic Melting Increasing, As Are Costs Of Dealing With It

A team of scientists studying Greenland’s ice mass reviewed data going back as far as 1972 for the first time, which allowed them to look at longer trends, and learned that even though there might be more snow in some years, the glaciers (large ice masses on the land) are still being negatively impacted by warming, according to a new study published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

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Alaska Experiences Temperatures As Much As 40 Degrees Above “Normal”

Alaska Experiences Temperatures As Much As 40 Degrees Above “Normal”

For most people, a mild end to the long winter is a blessing, but for the people of Alaska, it may be too much of a good thing.  Temperatures in Alaska reached record highs for the month of March — with an unprecedented 70-degree day in the Southeastern town of Klawock on March 19 — the earliest any spot in the state has hit that high. — beating the previous first warm day by almost a month.   

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Arctic Melting Now “Locked In”

Arctic Melting Now “Locked In”

According to a new report issued by the United Nations Environment Program, the Arctic is locked into extreme temperature increases because of greenhouse gasses already emitted and the heat already being stored in the ocean.  The Report, entitled Global Linkages – A graphic look at the changing Arctic, explains that winter temperatures in the Arctic will […]

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