On the brink of climate crisis

Independent, 31 August 2012:

As your report and leader clearly indicate, the relentless loss of sea-ice from the Arctic represents a grave threat to the future of the planet (28 August). For others however this represents an opportunity, as it allows oil companies to drill in the Arctic.

In other words, global warming, stoked by their own commercial activities, is opening up new markets. In business this is known as a virtuous circle. By contrast citizens of planet Earth see nothing but dangers. Imagine for a moment what would happen if a Deepwater Horizon oil spill were to contaminate this pristine environment with its fragile ecosystems.

However the oil companies seems to perceive environmental groups as the main problem. Shell, for example, have invested $4.5bn already in Arctic exploration. Earlier this year they obtained an injunction in the US Federal District Court in Anchorage Alaska, that “prohibits Greenpeace from taking unlawful action against vessels owned or contracted to Shell in support of Arctic Ocean exploration”.

Shareholders should realise that this is not a far-sighted policy. These are the spasms of a dying industry.

Dr Robin Russell-Jones
Chair, Planetary SOS,
Stoke Poges, Buckinghamshire