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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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Hooked on the Arctic

This blog post was written for Arctic Relations , a website devoted to “Arctic scholarship and stories”, led by Hannes Hansen-Magnusson, a Senior Lecturer in International Relations at the University of Cardiff, and coordinated by Charlotte Gehrke from the same University. There is a wonderful network of Arctic experts and enthusiasts around the planet. Thanks …

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Arctic conferencing in times of corona

With much of the world in lockdown and the potentially lethal corona virus dominating the agenda, it is easy to become distracted from other important issues – such as climate change in the Arctic. There is a trend - which I consider unfortunate and counter-productive - especially in the social media to discuss how the …

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2020 – Crunch time – or squelch time – for the Arctic?

I would love to be looking forward to the 2020s as the decade when the Arctic as we have known it will be saved; climate change decisively halted; emissions will peak; fossil fuels become true fossils; sustainable living will be the 'in' -thing. The Arctic will not become ice-free in summer after all. And Fridays …

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COP25 and the Arctic: stakes high, expectations low as tipping points tumble

Another year, another COP... What's a year in the history of a planet? And as we head for 2020 – the start of a new decade - what's ten years in the evolution of the earth? The UNFCCC tells us COP25 serves to “build ambition ahead of 2020, the year in which countries have committed …

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Arctic sea ice record low. Can we communicate our way out of climate paralysis?

The latest figures from the NSIDC do not make happy reading. The Arctic sea ice extent averaged for October 2019 was 5.66 million square kilometers (2.19 million square miles), the lowest in the 41-year continuous satellite record. The experts tell us this was 230,000 square kilometers (88,800 square miles) below that observed in 2012—the previous …

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