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German High Court win for climate activists is good news for the Arctic

In Germany, where I live, the country's highest court, the Federal Constitutional Court, - unnoticed by much of the international media – recently issued a game-changing verdict in a case initiated by campaigners supported by groups including Fridays for Future and Greenpeace. The plaintiffs argued the government was failing to act on climate change. The …

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Can we make peace with nature in a rapidly changing Arctic?

The United Nations Environment Programme is calling for bold action to “make peace with nature” by cutting greenhouse gases and restoring biodiversity as the world emerges from the COVID pandemic. “Innovation and investment only in activities that protect both people and nature”, is the motto. What does this mean for the rapidly changing Arctic and the Indigenous peoples living there?

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2021: Future doesn’t just happen – It’s what we make it

As I started work on this post, on December 23rd, the thermometer here in north-western Germany showed 14° Celsius. I’ve long given up dreaming of a White Christmas in this part of the world, but roses and honeysuckle in bloom in mid-winter? 2020 marked the close of the warmest decade (2011-2020) on record, according to …

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The Arctic, the climate: some gloom but no doom – and a promise of progress

Last Monday, Germany’s public service broadcaster ARD dedicated its prime viewing time after the evening news to the Arctic, the start of a whole week of themed programme contributions. It showed a film documentary on the MOSAiC project, a spectacular year-long expedition, during which the legendary icebreaker Polarstern – (pole star) belonging to Germany’s polar …

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When the Arctic ice won’t freeze

Imagine you head for the North Pole to test your brand-new  giant, state-of-the-art icebreaker – and you can’t find any ice thick enough to smash.  That must have been a frustrating anti-climax for the crew and operators of the Russian Arktika. When I read the story by Thomas Nilsen on the Independent Barents Observer, I …

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Zackenberg revisited –Greenland climate research station under threat from permafrost thaw

Zackenberg station from the air (I.Quaile) In the remote, high Arctic region of north-eastern Greenland, at 74° North, a scattered group of blue and white buildings and tent-like structures perches above a river which starts to swell with melting ice, in a broad valley amongst green and brown hills, dotted with snow. For almost 25 …

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