Arctic ice melt a stark reminder of reality Media Release

Aug 27, 2012 - 1:59pm

News that the Arctic ice cap has shrunk to its lowest level on record is a stark reminder that we are in dangerous climate territory now and that the issue isn’t going away, said The Climate Institute today.

“With over a week left in the traditional summer melt the Arctic ice cap is at a record low but this is neither surprising or shocking, rather it is a stark reminder of an unrelenting and dangerous climate change now underway,” said John Connor, CEO of The Climate Institute. “While politics and fear campaigns have dominated public debate in Australia, climate change has not gone way and will continue to press the need for urgent action as the fear of current reforms subsides.”

“Our Climate of the Nation 2012 research revealed that Australians in late May had become sick of the politics, scared of the costs, and confused by competing voices. But while concern for climate change as an abstract concept has dipped, concern about impacts on food and water security, the environment, and pollution remain very high.”

“While no single extreme weather event can be linked wholly and solely to climate change, scientists are increasingly joining the dots between rising emissions and events like the Texas heat wave of 2011, the Russian heat wave of 2010, and the European heat wave of 2003.”

“Far from being surprised by this latest warning signal from the top of the world, scientists say this is part of a long-term trend, with a series of record ice-sheet melts starting in the mid-nineties.* There is a wealth of research that identifies the Arctic as the most rapidly warming region on Earth, predicts the steepest warming rates for the Arctic as a consequence of human emissions, and predicts an acceleration of Arctic ice loss.”

“Unlike the ice cap, climate change is not going away.”

Connor added: “For Australia, the projections are more and more frequent heatwaves and dangerous bushfire weather, as well heavier downpours and more ferocious tropical cyclones. We are the country most exposed to the impacts of a deteriorating climate in the developed world."

“Sadly, some climate change is already in the pipeline. Now, it’s a case of managing the unavoidable changes and avoiding the unmanageable consequences of climate change.”

“Today’s news is a stark reminder that Australia needs get cracking to invest in low-carbon solutions as well as helping to boost global action and ambition."

For more information
John Connor | CEO, The Climate Institute | 02 8239 6299

* See Duarte C, Groundhog Day: The ice extent in the Arctic Ocean reaches a new minimum, The Conversation, 27/08/12
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