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Greenland to Glasgow: Arctic SOS to Climate COP26 as scientists demand urgent action to slow ice loss and avert sea-level and weather catastrophe.

With the final countdown running for the UN climate conference, COP26, in Glasgow, the mood is shifting between desperate hope for a breakthrough that will ensure the world can keep global warming below the critical 1.5 C mark - and fear that countries will not pledge the necessary reductions. This week top scientists working on the Greenland ice sheet and Arctic climate change issued an urgent message. The ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica are melting faster than ever, with catastrophic implications for global sea level and the world's weather – and only rapid and substantial action can slow the pace.

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Tipping points: can a leaked report tip the scales to climate action?

I was working through my Twitter feed, fretting about the incredible temperatures in the high north and researching my next blog post. Could geoengineering be the way to cool the Arctic and the planet? Should it? And was the current hype about it not distracting too much attention from the need for immediate and drastic …

Continue reading Tipping points: can a leaked report tip the scales to climate action?

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Hot times ahead as oil-fuelled Russia chairs the Arctic Council and polar warming picks up pace

The bi-annual Ministerial Meeting of the Arctic Council in Reykjavik, Iceland, on May 20th attracted a lot of media interest – not least because the new US Secretary of State Antony Blinken was attending, alongside Russian foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. This is one arena where the two rivals and Cold War adversaries come together as …

Continue reading Hot times ahead as oil-fuelled Russia chairs the Arctic Council and polar warming picks up pace

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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 …

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

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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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