Nowhere else on the planet are the effects of climate change more visible than the Arctic Circle and the future of this fragile eco-system rests a on a knife edge. The ice cap is melting at an unprecedented rate, hunting and fishing has reduced some species of marine life to near extinction and habitat loss has displaced hundreds of polar bears and indigenous people.
However, while the ice cap melts, oil companies like Exxon Mobil and Rosneft are taking advantage of the waters once covered by ice and are moving in to the Arctic Circle in their search to drill for more oil – oblivious it seems to the irony that the use of fossil fuels is responsible for the melting in the first place.
Campaigners are concerned that an oil spill in this area would be impossible to clean up and following protests by Greenpeace, Cairn Energy an Edinburgh based oil company who are actively exploring the area, were forced to publish its oil spill contingency plans. And they don’t make good reading.
Given the freezing temperatures and fact that the region experiences perpetual darkness for half the year, Cairn admitted that if a spill were to happen in the winter months, recovery operations would grind to a halt.
Worse still, they admit ‘recovery rates will never be 100 per cent and are actually more likely to be around 10 to 20 per cent’. Despite this, they are continuing with their explorations and out of the six wells they have drilled so far, each one has turned up dry. This is good news, but only for now. Cairn show no sign of ceasing its search and it’s only a matter of time before they, or another oil company, strike black gold.
Sign the Greenpeace petition to Greenland’s Prime Minister Kuupik Kleist, calling for him to protect the Arctic, shut down Cairn’s drilling programme and refuse to grant future drilling licences.
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