John Key’s government is at the climate change talks in Bonn avoiding doing their part in combating more climate change in the future (along with Russia and the Ukraine). Meanwhile the British Antarctic Survey is reporting that the Wilkins ice shelf is likely to disappear shortly.
A large part of the Wilkins Ice Shelf on the Antarctic Peninsula is now supported only by a thin strip of ice hanging between two islands.
An enormous 405 km2 iceberg (~41 by ~2.5 km) has recently broken away and is a sign of the effect of climate change on the ice shelves in Antarctica. Over the past 50 years most ice shelves there have retreated, and six have completely collapsed (Prince Gustav Channel, Larsen Inlet, Larsen A, Larsen B, Wordie, Muller and the Jones Ice Shelf). The following mashup video shows footage from a number of sources like this on this particular ice shelf breakup.
The glaciers behind some of those ice shelves have shown markedly increased rates of melting and iceberg formation when the ice shelf barrier has been removed. This will probably not happen with the free floating Wilkins, unlike the Larsen B ice shelf breakup in 2002.
Professor Vaughan of the BAS in a BBC article said
Professor Vaughan predicted in 1993 that the northern part of the Wilkins Ice Shelf would be lost within 30 years if climate warming continued. But he said it is happening more quickly than he expected.
He told BBC News: “What we’re actually seeing is a chunk of the ice shelf drop off in a way that suggests it is not just a normal part of iceberg formation.
“This is not a sea level rise issue, but is yet another indication of climate change in the Antarctic Peninsula and how it is affecting the environment.”
Scientists say the Antarctic Peninsula, which juts out into the Southern Ocean towards the tip of South America, has experienced unprecedented warming over the last 50 years.
Greenpeace describe the NZ response to climate change as NZ rearranges deckchairs while ice shelf collapses.
Delegates are meeting in the German city for the first stage of the UN climate talks which culminate in Copenhagen in December.
“Wilkins provides us with one of the starkest reminders of just how fast climate change is occurring and yet the New Zealand Government still refuses to face facts,” said Greenpeace Political Adviser Geoff Keey, from Bonn.
“Along with Russia and the Ukraine, New Zealand is refusing to put forward a proposed national emission reduction target. This backward and unhelpful position is contributing to the glacial pace in which the talks are proceeding.
“As climate change in the real world becomes more visible by the day, New Zealand remains in a bubble where it thinks it can weasel out of international obligations. This must change. At the moment we’re not climate leaders, we’re not even playing our part, we’re laggards.”
I’d agree. We have the idiots from ACT playing in select committee as part of their coalition agreement, and John Key too paralytic and ill-informed on the subject to provide any leadership. Perhaps he needs to learn to read faster than the ice melts.