Here’s what’s going on: chunks of glaciers several times the size of Manhattan are ripping free from Greenland; what can change from solid to liquid in the Arctic is rapidly doing so; 2012 is on track to become the hottest year ever in the lower 48. Peter Wadhams, Cambridge University professor of ocean physics, is convinced the summer Arctic ice sheet will be gone by 2016, and all of this is just the beginning. As the ice melts, it opens up the opportunity for cheaper oil, gas and mineral extraction. In anticipation, international companies and even nation-states are racing to get in on the action. Some say environmentalists shouldn’t be sounding the apocalypse alarms. Others argue that unless something changes quick, we’re doomed.
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