Monday, December 08, 2008

The Tipping Point - Canadian Documentary on Arctic Meltdown

Despite the economic and political turmoil, some Canadians still remember the coming climate crisis. A person at a holiday party last night tipped me off to this important-sounding documentary: The Tipping Point - Passionate Eye Monday | CBC Newsworld
From the promo page:
Scientists say that by 2013, there will be no sea ice left in the Arctic, causing a tipping point for climate change throughout the world. "The tipping point is where you've pushed a system into a state where, with no further pushing, it will rapidly change", explains Dr Ted Scambos. "It seems as though the Arctic simply can't recover". Polar bears, who are at the top of the Arctic food chain, are feeling the heat. As the sea ice shrinks, so does their world.


Melting permafrost could soon be a worldwide disaster, as it locks in carbon dioxide, which is released as the ice melts. "The amount of carbon which is sequestered in permafrost is at least the same as the amount of carbon in the atmosphere", says an expert in permafrost. "Thawing permafrost will release this methane and it is like a bomb will explode".

"The Arctic will export change to the rest of the world", warns Robie MacDonald. "Melting sea ice will intensify the extreme weather caused by climate change, bringing violent storms and cyclones." Very quickly the world's food and water supplies will begin to run short. "To put it in context, the Arctic Ocean has not been clear of ice for a couple of million years at least. This is extraordinary."

In the video preview, one expert also mentions the risk of war over arctic resourses, especially with the opening of the Northwest Passage (which I had discussed independently here).

I'd really like to see the full documentary, so I hope that they re-run it soon.

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