In the ten months (has it been that long) since the launch of the BusinessGreen blog we've purposefully avoided stories about the furious pace of climate change and the various milestones on the road to apocalypse that we seem to pass on an almost weekly basis.
There are several good reasons for this. Firstly, our core remit of providing news and best practice analysis for environmentally-conscious execs means that news of the rapid demise of the polar ice caps has less weight from an editorial perspective than a story on a new clean technology or an analysis of attitudes towards green taxation. Individual businesses and executives can do a lot to limit their carbon emissions, but they can not on their own stop the ice caps melting.
Secondly, and perhaps less justifiably, you could argue that commenting on every single piece of bad environmental news creates a sense of defeatism that could easily undermine green investments ands initiatives.
However, that being said sometimes there climate change scare stories become so terrifying they prove impossible to ignore.
According to reports last week, scientists have been left "stunned" after the Arctic ice cap collapsed at an unprecedented rate this summer leaving sea ice levels in the region at record lows.
The Northwest passage to the north of Canada has been left fully navigable and the Northeast passage along Russia's coastline is expected to open up soon.
At the current rate the Arctic could be totally free of summer ice in less than 25 years.
Speaking to The Guardian, Dr Mark Serreze, an Arctic specialist at the US National Snow and Ice Data Centre at Colorado University in Denver, said: "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."
The ice should begin to recover somewhat as the winter begins, but Serreze is less than confident we will see significant changes in the coming months. "This summer we've got all this open water and added heat going into the ocean. That is going to make it much harder for the ice to grow back… The rules are starting to change and what's changing the rules is the input of greenhouse gases."
Meanwhile, scientific reports continue to raise very real concerns that the break up of the Greenland and West Antarctic ice sheets and subsequent catastrophic increases in sea levels is now inevitable. And if the ensuing human catastrophe does not get you worrying, perhaps a study from the US Geological Survey predicting two thirds of Polar Bears will be extinct within 50 years will.
These scare stories are easy to ignore, as perhaps we have been guilty of here. After all, the Arctic is a long way away and not many of us are ever likely to visit.
But they still serve as an important reminder as to why low carbon business models are so important and also how overly optimistic many firms risk assessments remain. It is time to start basing our climate change strategies on the startling realities of what is happening at the poles and not on the best case scenarios of various scientific reports that even their authors accept are now looking increasingly out of date.
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