The Socialist 29 August 2018 |
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Permanent Arctic ice melting: nationalise the energy giants to combat global warming
Ice which has never melted before is now melting (Click to enlarge)
Richard Worth, Torbay and South Devon Socialist Party
The oldest, thickest, most frozen sea ice in the arctic, to the north of Greenland, remains frozen all year. But this year it has broken away - twice! This has never been seen before.
In February and August, abnormal European heat waves caused by global warming sent hot winds to Greenland, pushing the ice away from the coast and leaving it shattered and broken.
Between 1995 and 2017, about 3,600 gigatonnes - that's 3.6 trillion tonnes - of water came from melted ice in Greenland. That's a lot of water.
For example, there's only about 300 million tonnes of water in Lake Windermere. So 120,000 Lake Windermeres have melted out of Greenland's arctic ice in the last two decades.
Hotter summers are contributing to the large ice melt, which is raising sea levels worldwide. The arctic is warming twice as fast as the rest of the planet. This threatens wildlife, like polar bears, and people.
In June, a four-mile-long iceberg broke away from a glacier in eastern Greenland. In July the village of Innaarsuit was evacuated because of the threat of a devastating tsunami from a massive fall of melting ice. The same month, hundreds were killed by flooding in Kerala, India.
As sea ice melts, sunlight that would normally be reflected back into space is instead absorbed by the darker blue of the ocean, further heating the water and surrounding air. This kickstarts a vicious cycle, resulting in even more ice melting and ocean heat absorption.
More than two years after 195 countries pledged to support the overly modest targets of the Paris Climate accord, global emissions of carbon dioxide are still rising, furthering global warming. President Trump has withdrawn even from this insufficient agreement, and many other countries are failing to meet their pledges.
The accord is not enforceable or even binding, and capitalist governments won't take actions which might threaten the profits of big business. Words are easy, but national capitalist leaders have no commitment to act.
The fate of humanity depends on all peoples working together to mitigate climate change. Only international socialism, based on public ownership and democratic planning, will enable workers to take control of energy production and force the investment in renewables needed to transform the lives of the world's poorest and all of us.