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Executive Summary for June 30th

We review the latest Arctic news, including a link between Canadian wildfires and the Greenland Ice Sheet’s melt, worries that the Earth is no longer sopping up carbon emissions as much as before, and the start of a long slog to clean up northern Russia’s nuclear waste.

Published on June 30, 2017 Read time Approx. 1 minutes

Fire and Ice

Soot from Canadian wildfires is hastening the melt of Greenland’s Ice Sheet.

As the Washington Post reports, researchers have for the first time tracked soot’s journey between these points.

The presence of this soot is helping to speed up the Greenland Ice Sheet’s melt, which could eventually contribute to global rising sea levels by more than 6m (20ft). On a related point, the Post also reports that sea level rise isn’t just happening, but it’s also getting faster.

Saturation Point

Carbon dioxide levels continue to increase in the Earth’s atmosphere, even as global emission levels have stabilized.

As the New York Times reports, climate scientists say this is a worrying sign that the natural processes that have sponged up greenhouse gases until now are changing.

As the Times puts it, the result may be akin to a garbage strike on a global scale, as carbon emissions continue to rise and push global warming past its present rate.

Critical Cleanup

The first of many shiploads of nuclear waste departed Russia’s Andreeva Bay this week.

As the Barents Observer reports, Norwegian officials cheered the news – their country has spent more than $34 million over the past 20 years to support the cleanup of the area’s nuclear dump, which is just 50km (31 miles) from the border.

Andreeva Bay’s nuclear waste largely stems from the operation of Soviet submarines and is the world’s biggest nuclear storage site of its kind. The cleanup is expected to take more than a decade. Critics worry about the potential for an accident during the long voyage the nuclear waste will take by ship and train – including through heavily populated areas – to a nuclear reprocessing facility at Mayak in Siberia.

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