The U.N. weather agency reported that an area of Arctic sea ice with the size of the territory of the U.S has melted this year. This is considered as a clear indication that climate change is real and happening.
During the U.N, climate talks in Doha, Qatar, the World Meteorological Organization presented a report, stating that this is one of the many extreme weather events that have happened in 2012.
Large areas in the US, Russia and Southern Europe were affected by severe droughts and heat waves, while floods were observed in regions in west Africa. The ice melt, however, was the focus of the report. The U.N. announced that ice cover has never been so low around the North Pole, with massive 11.83 million square kilometers having melted.
General Michel Jarraud, WMO Secretary, said that this alarming rate of melting is the most obvious indicator for climate change, caused by increasing concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.
The striking news comes at the exact time when for a third consecutive day delegates for almost 200 countries have gathered to reach a global agreement for greenhouse gas emissions reduction, hoping to prevent further increase of global temperatures. These have already increased with 0.8 degrees C, as stated by the latest IPCC report. The topics of emissions and the long-lasting conflict between rich and poor countries are still being under discussion.
The chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Rajendra Pachauri, together with former U.S. Vice President Al Gore, advised the delegates to take action immediately according to the suggestions presented by scientists.
Currently, the discussion is focusing on giving financial aid to developing countries so that they can adapt to climate change. In addition, these countries are urged to sign the extension of the Kyoto Protocol and legally bind to the pact until 2020. As it stands now, the global Kyoto pact would now include only countries from EU, Australia and several small other countries, which all together account for not more than 15 % of the global greenhouse emissions.
The US does not want to make commitments regarding cutting of emissions. Su Wei, a member of the Chinese delegation, commented that for EU and the US it is important that they make bolder commitments especially considering what science and history present.
Developing countries, on the other hand, do not go against signing of the protocol extension; however they also require space for development of their economies. In the case of China and India, although their total carbon emissions are very high, per head they are far behind the rest of the industrial countries.
According to Wei, the industrialization process is still going on. China is facing enormous poverty problems, and according to the members of their delegation, the only way to handle this is by developing the economy of the country