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Greenland Ice Sheet melts an Unprecedented 97% This Summer but World Refuses to Wake Up to Climate Change

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The ice sheet in Greenland has been melting to an increasing extent almost every year in the recent past summers giving one of the most important clues in support of global climate change. The increasing rate of glacier melts, rise in sea levels and increasing incidence of extreme weather are the other main proofs of global warming. However climate change has been put on the backburner by global leaders ever since the Copenhagen fiasco in 2009. Climate Change has been put in Cold Storage even as Floods and Droughts around the world become more extreme. Drought in the US is the worst in the last 50 years and even in 2011, global weather had led to massive floods and droughts in Russia and China. However leaders continue to concentrate on their own happy short term issues while climate change becomes a bigger and bigger threat to mankind.

The world has the resources to fight the climate change but the will and foresight remains severely lacking. Even now that the Greenland ice sheet has melted an incredible 97% which is totally unprecedented, there has hardly been a squeak from the mainstream media which goes crazy when Steve Job dies. Climate Change has arrived already but since there is no celebrity is dying, there is no action. It seems that global warming will get worse and worse and the world will only wake up when nothing can be done to reverse it.

Climate Changed Already – Massive Floods in Asia, Record Drought in Russia, Huge Ice Island breaks from Greenland

Recently the weather conditions have become extreme in many parts of Asia and Europe. While the global temperatures are said to be the highest since records were kept, devastating climate conditions have affected different parts of the world. It reads straight out of an Global Warming Disaster 101. China and Pakistan are seeing devastating floods which have displaced millions besides endangering the fragile Pakistani Economy. While  the anti Climate Changers will say that it has nothing to do with human induced carbon emissions, there is still nothing to prove that it is not so. Doomsday scenarios projected by the end of the century if global temperatures increase by more than 2 Degrees Centigrade are playing out right now.

Pakistan’s Economy in Peril, Food Fears for Survivors of Worst Flood in last 80 Years

IMF said that the already weak Pakistani Economy would be devastated by the Floods which are said to be the worst in the last 80 years. These floods have affected almost 4 million people and killed 1500. 80% of the food reserves have been destroyed raising dangers of a famine like situation for the beleaguered survivors. Government Relief Efforts have been ineffectual.

Russia faces Record Droughts and Forest Fires

Russia banned the exports of Wheat as a Record Drought is expected to curtail sharply the Wheat Production in the country this year and the next. This has led to a 100% increase in Wheat Prices over the last 2 months. Meanwhile Moscow residents are running away form the city as smoke from the Forest Fires makes living dangerous. The death rate has doubled in the city as Moscow sees unheard of temperatures of 35 C plus. This is in keeping with what the climate scientists have  predicted that Food Prices will rise and Climate Refugees increase manifold due to Global Warming.

China sees more than 1000 deaths from Floods and Landslides

China has seen hundreds of deaths from landslides and floods. This has sent the prices of rice soaring and made pork expensive. The floods have affected large parts of Asia with a Flash Flood in Leh, India leading to around 140 deaths. These conditions have not been attributed to climate change but the extreme weather conditions do point to a strong possibility that Global Warming is already happening.

Ice island four times the size of Manhattan breaks off from one of Greenland

A Massive Chunk of Ice has broken off Greenland’s 2 glaciers which is the biggest such piece in the last 50 years. The chunk measures 260 sq km in area and has the height of half the size of Empire State Building. Arctic Ice breaking off due to Global Warming has been sufficiently researched into but Greenland’s record has only been kept since 2003. Again this will make the anti climate change camp say that it may be just a coincidence.

Lack of Global Agreement on Climate Change – leading to Trade Friction

Copenhagen was a disaster and there has been no agreement on how to proceed with policies on a global basis to deal with the ever growing problem of climate change and global warming. Its each country adopting its own policies and targets with reducing carbon emissions, which can only work on a local or at best a regional level not at a global level. There are some countries going ahead with their own carbon reduction policies which will lead to conflict with trade partners. Domestic goods/services with carbon mitigation costs will have a disadvantage with imported good with no such problems.

 EWEA Blog

 In a normal summer period, according to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), only about half of the massive ice sheet experiences thawing periods.

In a press release, NASA officials noted that for several days this month Greenland’s surface ice cover melted over a larger area than at any time in more than 30 years of satellite observations.

“Nearly the entire ice cover of Greenland, from its thin, low-lying coastal edges to its 2-mile-thick center, experienced some degree of melting at its surface, according to measurements from three independent satellites analyzed by NASA and university scientists,” the press release said.

Officials said melt maps derived from the three satellites showed that on 8 July, about 40% of the ice sheet’s surface had melted. By 12 July, 97% had melted.

The extreme melt event coincided with an unusually strong ridge of warm air, or a heat dome, over Greenland, which has the largest ice mass in the Northern Hemisphere, the press release said.

“The Greenland ice sheet is a vast area with a varied history of change. This event, combined with other natural but uncommon phenomena, such as the large calving event last week on Petermann Glacier, are part of a complex story,” Tom Wagner, NASA’s cryosphere program manager in Washington, was quoted as saying.

“Satellite observations are helping us understand how events like these may relate to one another as well as to the broader climate system.”

Officials also said researchers have not yet determined whether the extensive melt event will affect the overall volume of ice loss this summer and contribute to sea level rise.

BBC News reported that NASA chief scientist Waleed Abdalati said scientists would be trying to figure out the meaning of the mass melting for years.

“When we see melt in places that we haven’t seen before, at least in a long period of time, it makes you sit up and ask what’s happening,” Abdalati was quoted as saying.

The BBC report added Abdalati said that, because the Greenland-wide melting has happened before – in 1889 – scientists are not yet able to determine whether this is a natural but rare event, or if it has been sparked by man-made climate change.

One thing is certain, however. The rapid and extensive melting of Greenland’s ice sheet will no doubt increase concerns about how global warming is affecting our world and everything in it. Last week this blog linked to a post from the US National Resources Defense Council about the link between climate change and the recent extreme weather parts of the world has been experiencing.

While Europe, with its 2020 renewable energy and climate change targets and Emission Trading System, is probably the world leader when it comes to legislation designed to curb climate change, it can still do more.

EWEA has called on the EU to move to a 30% carbon reduction target for 2020 because the economic recession and related decline in industrial output has made the 20% target easy to achieve. We have called on the EU to fix its ETS, which is currently not working properly since the price of carbon has plummeted, by withholding and eventually deleting many permits to emit carbon from the market which should boost the carbon price.

We also believe that Europe’s electricity sector can be 100% carbon-free by 2050, saving the planet from tons and tons of CO2, with wind power – one of the most mature renewables – providing half Europe’s electricity supply. One important step to achieving this is for the EU to agree a new renewable energy target for 2030.


Sneha Shah

I am Sneha, the Editor-in-chief for the Blog. We would be glad to receive suggestions, inputs & comments on GWI from you guys to keep it going! You can contact me for consultancy/trade inquires by writing an email to

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