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Alaska Hunts Oil as Arctic Damage Shows Most Change From Climate

Screen Shot 2013-01-11 at 20.09.51Robert Blaauw, Royal Dutch Shell Plc’s senior Arctic adviser, says his company is interested in the Arctic not for today but for 2050 — when power use will have doubled and two-thirds of energy will still come from fossil fuels.

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By John Lippert – Oct 2, 2013 10:47 PM GMT+0100

Extracts from extensive Bloomberg Markets Magazine Article

The Arctic has heated up twice as fast as the rest of the planet in the past three decades. By August 2013, sea ice had lost 76 percent of its volume compared to 1979, according to the University of Washington’s Polar Ice Center. Citing core samples taken from ice sheets, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a United Nations group, reported on Sept. 27 that the three main gases blamed for global warming –carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide — are at their highest level in at least 800,000 years.

On Alaska’s Arctic coast, 30-foot-high cliffs that haven’t budged since the last ice age are tumbling into the ocean overnight and village coastlines are eroding, leaving residents in peril. Lightning-sparked forest fires have charred more than 1 million acres (405,000 hectares) in five of the past 10 years. By midcentury, the average area burned by wildfires each year is likely to double, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says.

Alaskan Laboratory

Heat waves are getting hotter and longer, and winters are producing more rain and less snow as the carbon-damaged atmosphere soaks up moisture, says Rick Thoman, a climate analyst for the National Weather Service in Fairbanks, Alaska.

“Alaskans are living through climate change in ways people have not experienced in many thousands of years,” he says. “Alaska is a laboratory for everybody in the sense that this is the kind of thing you can expect in your region down the road.”

Robert Blaauw, Royal Dutch Shell Plc (RDSA)’s senior Arctic adviser, says his company is interested in the Arctic not for today but for 2050 — when power use will have doubled and two-thirds of energy will still come from fossil fuels.

“Shell and the other majors will continue their search for Arctic oil and gas,” Blaauw says.

FULL EXTENSIVE ARTICLE

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