The thawing planet

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Chris Spicer
Energy and Sustainability Services, EMEA

The BBC documentary Frozen Planet was a truly remarkable piece of television, an insight into the world’s last great wilderness which was testament to some of the great work the BBC does in producing nature documentaries. I must say I was addicted from the first five minutes. While there were some heart warming images of penguins it also offered hard evidence of how, due to global warming (man-made or otherwise), the Polar Regions are changing at an unprecedented speed.

There were a number of issues raised regarding the threatened local ecosystems, how the local indigenous populations need to adapt to survive in the changing climate and the growing list of petrochemical companies looking to take advantage of the newly granted access to potentially huge supplies of hydrocarbons (The USGS estimates that there is 90 Billion Barrels of oil North of the Arctic Circle). I think the latter of these issues is the most concerning because if large reserves are found, we could see a similar situation to the American wild west gold rush with every company, country and individual claiming a stake in the Arctic (the first ice resistant oil platform is now in place in the arctic). This suggests that there is a need to strictly control and manage exploration and production activity in the area, a task which will require global collaboration due to immense size of the region.

I think the BBC should be commended for bringing us eye opening images of an environment at risk and one which may not be there when I am old and grey.

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