Socialist Worker

North Pole melts as world hots up

Issue No. 1711

Unfrozen water has appeared at the North Pole for the first time for more than 50 million years. The mile wide stretch of open water is a clear sign that global warming is happening.

Some climatologists predict that within 50 years the polar ice will disappear entirely during the summer. The dramatic evidence is further confirmation that capitalism threatens to cost us the earth.

Two British researchers have shown that levels of carbon dioxide, the main greenhouse gas, are at their highest for 20 million years. Paul Pearson of the University of Bristol and Martin Palmer of Imperial College London used the evidence of plankton shells drilled from the sea bed to estimate carbon dioxide levels over millions of years.

Other studies of more recent records confirmed rapid warming in the past two decades. Six of the warmest years ever recorded occurred in the 1990s. Paul Epstein of the US Harvard medical school warns in this month's Scientific American magazine that global warming will mean an increase in the threat of water-borne and insect-borne diseases.

Global warming means extreme and unpredictable weather patterns. This may explain the recent fires in the western US and the coldest winter in South America for 10 years.

The bosses' Confederation of British Industry has called for a delay in implementing the government's climate change levy.

This imposes a mild penalty on those companies which do not curb greenhouse gases.

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Sat 26 Aug 2000, 00:00 BST
Issue No. 1711
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