Susan Murray, Oceana’s Senior Pacific Director, issued the following statement in response to the announcement this morning that sea ice extent has broken the 2007 record low:
“The record low Arctic Sea Ice extent should be a wake-up call. The Administration needs to shift its focus from drilling the Arctic to energy conservation and renewable technology.
“The unfortunate irony is that our government is focused on drilling for more oil in the Arctic instead of promoting energy conservation and investing in technology that will bring us to a cleaner future. Not only will oil development further stress Arctic ecosystems and bring the inevitable oil spill with it, but our addiction to oil is fueling climate change.
“The rapid loss of Arctic Sea Ice extent reaching an all-time low over the satellite record is bad news for the planet. This drastic change has cascading consequences across the globe.
“Less Arctic sea ice means weather patterns across North America, Europe and Russia will cause extreme fluctuations in drought, flooding, and seasonal temperature variation. A recent study documented evidence linking extreme weather across these regions with Arctic sea-ice loss and early snow melt. Less ice also has direct negative impacts with less habitat for Arctic wildlife such as walrus and polar bears as well as impacts to Arctic peoples.
The health of the Arctic depends on how we balance conservation with development. Science shows us that our past actions have dramatically changed the planet and we are now quite literally on thin ice. We are at a crucial crossroad where we have the opportunity to protect or destroy the Arctic as we now know it. It is not too late to change course, but it will take strong, thoughtful leadership and public involvement to shift to a sustainable way of life for our country.”
Oceana is the largest international advocacy group working solely to protect the world’s oceans. Oceana wins policy victories for the oceans using science-based campaigns. Since 2001, we have protected over 1.2 million square miles of ocean and innumerable sea turtles, sharks, dolphins and other sea creatures. More than 550,000 supporters have already joined Oceana. Global in scope, Oceana has offices in North, South and Central America and Europe. To learn more, please visit www.oceana.org.