LONDON’S Green MEP Jean Lambert had added her voice to calls for a ban on oil exploration in the Arctic.
Speaking after an EU debate on the future of the region this week, she said the shrinking sea ice – which melted more in summer 2012 than at any time since records began – must be seen as a ‘wake-up call, not a business opportunity’.
Ms Lambert said: “The effects of climate change can be seen most at the poles, and the Arctic – home to many of world’s poorest people, most endangered species, and most pristine environments – is bearing the brunt.
“In 2012 sea ice coverage reached a record low, accelerating climate change further, due to the shrinkage of reflective ice and the warming of underwater permafrost leading to increased methane emissions.”
“This melting ice makes it much easier for oil and other resource companies to explore the region – but that would risk an environmental and social disaster on an unprecedented scale with enormous implications for all of us.
“There is simply no way of cleaning up an oil spill like that which hit the Gulf of Mexico in 2010 under ice – it just hasn’t been invented yet.”
She added: “But it’s not just the enormous risks associated with oil drilling in the Arctic that concern me: it’s the contribution to climate change the associated extra shipping and fossil fuel availability would create, the threat of military conflict between the eight Arctic states, and the impact on communities and wildlife in one of earth’s most fragile ecosystems.”
Euro-MPs will decide on their policy on the future of the Arctic later this year.