25 September 2007
A report issued by the US National Snow and Ice Data Center has reported that sea ice is at its lowest level since satellite record-keeping began and separate reports have confirmed that the fabled north-west passage linking Europe and Asia, has become navigable for the first time in recorded history.
This has prompted some scientists to suggest that the Arctic will be ice-free by 2040, thirty years before the previous estimate given by United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
Such reports add weight to the call from UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon that the time for doubt has passed and an immediate breakthrough is needed in global talks to sharply reduce green house gas emissions. He made the call in his address to world leaders assembled this week at UN Headquarters in New York.
Unfortunately President Bush and Australia’s Prime Minister Howard chose not to be present, an indication of their continued resistance to the setting of emission targets which they think might harm their respective national economies, although as the Secretary General pointed out "Inaction now will prove the costliest action of all in the long term."
In the meantime it is also reported that Pope Benedict XVI is expected to use his first address to the United Nations to deliver a powerful warning over climate change and to stress that action on climate change is a moral obligation. It is also thought that his next encyclical letter will also address this issue.