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Climate change: Is there nothing we can do to save the Arctic?

Credit: Pixabay

Is the Arctic really condemned ?  Well according to a recent UN report even if we stopped pumping out greenhouse gases into the Earth’s atmosphere tomorrow the arctic region would still heat up by 5 degrees Celsius by the end of the century. 

The Arctic has always been in the front line when it comes to climate change.  The region has been paying heavily. The area known for having vast landscapes of snow and ice will soon no longer be the same as before.  A recent report from the UN, has revealed that even if we stop producing greenhouse gases tomorrow the Arctic is going to get hotter by at least 3°C by 2050 and by 5 to 9°C between now and 2080 in comparison to temperatures prior to the pre-industrial age.

A domino effect

However when the ice cream cone starts to melt from above, after a while you start to find the ice cream dripping down the cone and onto your fingers.  This is why the rest of the world is not unaffected by the melting ice in the north pole. The Arctic has many glaciers that are suspected to melt which will as a result make sea levels rise.  We all know the risks if sea levels rise.  There will be coastal flooding, soil erosion, damages to human built infrastructure and climate migrations.

What is happening in the Arctic won’t just stay in the Arctic, declared Joyce Msuya, the acting executive of UN Environment. More urgent measures in relation to how we can combat climate change are more necessary than  ever if we’d like to get away from critical points that could be even more serious for our planet.

glace Antarctique
Credits : Free-Photos/Pixabay

Vicious circle

Billions of tons of carbon and methane lie under the Arctic permafrost. These greenhouse gases, once released, will only accelerate the process of global warming and continue to melt the ice. A recent study found that by 2050, four million people and about 70 percent of today’s Arctic infrastructure could be at risk from permafrost thaw.

But that’s not all. Melting permafrost also contributes to the acidification of our oceans.  When the ocean is too acidic, corals, molluscs, and plankton have to use more energy to build their shells and skeletons. This means that ice melt could have an effect on a whole food chain.

“The urgency of achieving the objectives of the Paris Agreement is evident in the Arctic, as it is one of the most vulnerable and changing regions in the world,” warns the Finnish Minister of Finance. Environment, Energy and Housing, Kimmo Tiilikainen. We need to dramatically reduce greenhouse gas, black carbon and other short-term climate pollutants in the short term worldwide. “

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