Antarctic ice shelf melting


This is a National Geographic video about Antarctica.

By Patrick O’Connor:

Antarctic ice shelf collapse: climate change and capitalism

8 April 2009

The disintegration last Sunday of a 40-kilometre ice bridge connecting the Wilkins Ice Shelf to the Antarctic Peninsula is another stark indicator of the threat posed by climate change.

The ice bridge was the last link between the 14,000 square kilometre Wilkins Shelf and the Antarctic mainland. Scientists now anticipate that the ice shelf—a vast expanse of ice—will be rapidly eroded or completely melted, especially if it drifts north into warmer ocean currents. The erosion of the Wilkins Shelf, first identified by scientists through satellite images taken in March 2008, proceeded much faster than anticipated. In 1993 the British Antarctic Survey identified the area as vulnerable, but predicted that significant deterioration would take 30 years.

Average world temperatures are 0.8 degrees Celsius higher than in the pre-industrial era, but the Antarctic Peninsula (the part of the continent that juts toward South America) has proven much more sensitive to global warming. Temperatures there have risen by 2.5°C in the past six decades alone. …

In the late nineteenth century Swedish scientist Svante Arrhenius first hypothesised that industrial pollution, above all the release of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, could produce global warming through a greenhouse effect. Empirical data confirming that warming was underway was gathered by climate scientists in the post-World War II period; significant evidence of climate change had been accumulated by the 1980s. Despite this, the response of governments throughout the world was to do nothing.

Subsequent international conferences on global warming have foundered on irreconcilable conflicts between various national governments. Their primary concern has been to protect their own corporations, which invariably regard greenhouse gas reductions as antithetical to their short-term profit interests. The 1997 Kyoto Protocol—which involved minimal pollution cuts, falling far short of what climate scientists determined was actually required—was stymied by the US government’s refusal to ratify. Washington’s stand was above all driven by concern to protect the interests of the major oil conglomerates, which had the closest of relationships with senior Bush administration figures.

See also here.

Report finds Antarctic thaw is twice as bad as anyone thought: here.

Antarctic Marine Biodiversity Data Now Online: here.

Ancient Ecosystem Discovered Beneath Antarctic Glacier: here.

Climate change makes migrations longer for birds: here.

Conservation groups have blasted European Union leaders after they failed to stump up money for poor countries to help combat climate change, warning that the EU was jeopardising a global pact to curb greenhouse gas emissions: here.

Britain & Canada’s assault on Kyoto: here.

13 thoughts on “Antarctic ice shelf melting

  1. Audio: Capitalism and Climate Change — Ian Angus

    Ian Angus is the editor of climateandcapitalism.com and a founder of the
    Eco-socialist International Network. He is also associate editor of
    Canada’s Socialist Voice and the director of the Socialist History
    Project. Ian toured Australia (Perth poster, left) in the run up to the
    World at a Crossroads conference held in Sydney on April 10-12, 2009,
    which was organised by the Democratic Socialist Perspective
    .

    * Listen http://links.org.au/node/994

    Like

  2. Australia: Has PM Kevin Rudd taken `a significant step forward on
    climate change’?

    By David Spratt
    May 5, 2009 — Kevin Rudd’s announced changes to the proposed Carbon
    Pollution Reduction Scheme (CPRS) has again split the climate movement,
    and this time it’s very serious, with three large, rusted-on-to-Labor
    [Party] groups running cover for an appalling policy that won’t
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    * Read more http://links.org.au/node/1035

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  3. Biochar: An answer to global warming or a menace?

    By Renfrey Clarke
    May 21, 2009 — Sometimes you have to hand it to capitalism. It’s sheer
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    * Read more http://links.org.au/node/1060

    Like

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  5. Can carbon trading save our forests?

    By Susan Austin
    June 26, 2009 – Hobart, Tasmania — Along with over 400 other people, I
    turned up to the Wrest Point Casino here to attend the premiere of The
    Burning Season on June 1. I had the film’s headline — “As inspiring as
    The Inconvenient Truth was frightening” in the back of my mind, hoping
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    the environment at the same time.
    By setting up a carbon trading company called Carbon Conservation, and
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    secure the protection of large areas of forests that may otherwise have
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    * Read more http://links.org.au/node/1129

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