A Special Report on Climate Change was released by the UN Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), focusing on greenhouse gas emissions and its links to desertification, land degradation and food security. The report warns that the “rise in global temperatures, linked to increasing pressures on fertile soil,” risks “jeopardizing food security for the planet.” The effects of global warming have led to “shifts of climate zones in many world regions,” further exacerbating land degradation, and leading to extreme weather conditions such as floods and droughts. The reports warns: “The stability of food supply is projected to decrease as the magnitude and frequency of extreme weather events that disrupt food chains increases.” (Photo of Tantaverom region of Chad via UNDP)
In what the New York Times somewhat hyperbolically calls a “clash,” US Border Patrol vessels have over the past two weeks stopped at least 10 Canadian fishing boats in the Bay of Fundy between Maine and New Brunswick. Canada has responded by beefing up its Coast Guard patrols in what is being termed a “disputed gray zone” between the two countries’ territories. The maritime dispute dates back to the 1783 Treaty of Paris that ended the American Revolution, and is one of several between the US and Canada—including fishing waters at Dixon Entrance between Alaska and British Columbia, and areas of the petroleum-rich Beaufort Sea, near the Arctic Ocean. (Map: ResearchGate)
As a part of the Republican tax overhaul bill, Congress voted to open Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) to oil and natural gas drilling, after more than four decades of contestation on the matter. Drilling is still years away at best, due to depressed oil prices, a lengthy review process, and likely legal challenges. But oil companies are already arguing over who will have rights to the reserve—while Native Alaskan communities that depend on its critical caribou habitat see impending cultural extermination. (Photo: FWS)
Hurricane Maria's destruction on Puerto Rico could spawn one of the largest mass migrations in US history. Some 97% of the island's residents are still without power, and half do not have running water. Thousands now awaiting flights from San Juan's airport might be permanently displaced and become the planet's newest "climate refugees."
San Francisco filed a lawsuit against five fossil fuel companies due to expected expenses the city will incur from global warming. The companies named in the suit are BP, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, ExxonMobil and Royal Dutch Shell—chosen because they are "the largest investor-owned fossil fuel corporations in the world as measured by their historic production of fossil fuels."
Under diplomatic pressure, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson signed the Fairbanks Declaration on Arctic climate—but with caveats about how the US will not "rush" to change policy.
President Donald Trump signed an executive order to lift restrictions placed on offshore oil drilling by the previous administration, opening vast areas to exploitation.
Is Trump's breach with Putin real, or is all the sudden sabre-rattling part of an elaborate charade to throw Congress off the scent of ongoing Trump-Putin collusion?
The Interior Department announced the cancellation of two pending Arctic offshore lease sales—as Alaska's governor makes a new push to open the ANWR to oil companies.
Russia's Foreign Ministry submitted a new bid claiming over 350 nautical miles of oil-rich Arctic sea shelf before the UN Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf.
Obama's five-year plan for offshore drilling opens up the Southeast coast and grandfathers Arctic leases—but the industry is still griping because it would keep ANWR off limits.
As the Pentagon adds 14 interceptors to its anti-missile system in Alaska, some observers see a design on Arctic resources also sought by competitors Russia and China.