Civilization as we know it is predicated on ten thousand years of global climate stability.
Energy Risks: Climate Change
How do we adapt to the upheaval that climate change will bring?
As societies, do we even have a solid grasp on what those changes will be, and the likely consequences?
Many northern communities rely on ice roads during the winter to bring in a year's worth
of supplies. Even today, the period that ice roads are passable is decreasing appreciably
compared to just a decade ago. There is a limit to how much more traffic we can put onto
those roads. The freight that is carried includes gasoline and fuel oil.
When we reach the shrinking freight capacity threshold, how do we manage additional demand associated
with growing populations and affluence in remote, northern communities? As the lifespan of
ice roads decreases over time, will the cost of creating and maintaining them exceed their value?
Especially as fuel for equipment and transport trucks continues to become more expensive?
Ice roads are only one, small part of the changing environmental tableau predicted as
climate change consequences manifest themselves. Storm systems will become more frequent and
powerful, such that barges may no longer be able to make safe passage. Ice bergs will calve more
frequently as the Arctic pack ice melts faster. Melting and shifting permafrost will damage pipelines.
Higher wind speeds and
more changeable weather will impact air travel. We already know that changes will be
magnified in the north relative to temperate and equatorial climate zones.
National Round Table on Energy and the Environment: True North:
Adapting Infrastructure Vulnerability and Adaptation to Climate Change
Despite the rantings of those in denial,
climate change is real and happening today.
Research indicates that soot from commercial shipping (diesel, bunker oil) is already having
an impact and increasing the rate of Arctic ice melt.
Montreal Gazette article 2010.10.26
Paper reported on in newspaper article
We need to take action now to stop, reverse and remediate.