Al Gore is speaking right now at the Web 2.0 Summit and according to Twitterer Sarah Milstein his prediction for the polar ice caps is pretty dire. How Stuff Works has a good breakdown of what to expect if and when the ice caps melt away.
Gore is also calling for President-elect Obama to mandate that all US energy come from renewable, non-CO2 sources within 10 years. Global warming caused by man-made greenhouse gas emissions is largely blamed for retreating glaciers and thinning polar ice cover around the world.
The melting of the ice caps isn’t all bad…if you happen to own a shipping company:
Shipping companies are already planning to exploit the first simultaneous opening of the routes since the beginning of the last Ice Age 125,000 years ago. The Beluga Group in Germany says it will send the first ship through the north-east passage, around Russia, next year, cutting 4,000 miles off the voyage from Germany to Japan.
You gotta love that never say die, glass half full attitude those spunky shipping companies have.
I personally think Gore’s five year assessment is a bit premature but there is no doubt this situation is extremely dire. Mark Serreze, an Arctic specialist at the US National Snow and Ice Data Centre at Colorado University in Denver said last year, “If you asked me a couple of years ago when the Arctic could lose all of its ice then I would have said 2100, or 2070 maybe. But now I think that 2030 is a reasonable estimate. It seems that the Arctic is going to be a very different place within our lifetimes, and certainly within our childrens’ lifetimes.”
At some point our kids are going to grow up and start asking questions like, what we did, if anything to help reverse or at least curb global warming. If they asked now there’s not a very good answer we could give them.