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Oil, acid and the future of the Laptev

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The Laptev Sea at night. © Tom Arnbom / WWF-CanonThe Laptev Sea at night. © Tom Arnbom / WWF-Canon

A WWF-led research team, a Canon photographer, and crew are traveling to Siberia’s Arctic coast on the Laptev Sea, to help solve a scientific mystery. The Laptev Linkages expedition is sponsored by Canon.

I am up well before the rest of the expedition members. During the night, fresh snow has fallen and the ground is almost white. I like these moments, when it is possible to just enjoy the surroundings. Who can complain, despite lack of showers, mobiles and internet – while I scan the horizon I can in my Canon 15x binocular see; 1 glacous gull, 3 snowy owls, 9 wild reindeer, 1 muskox, 1 Arctic fox and 30 walruses. Not bad before breakfast.

The lack of sea ice here and the quest for Arctic oil and gas means that exploration for resources has started in the Laptev Sea. Fossil fuels ought to be exchanged for renewables – now, not later. We do have the technology: solar, wind, wave, and especially energy efficiency. We all hear about climate change and the increase in CO2 , but climate change also brings ocean acidification, which  hampers the ability of marine creatures in the Arctic to build strong shells and bones. It will cost money to change energy systems, but future generations will thank us for doing it.

Thoughts from an environment in the north which is slowly turning into the red of autumn.

Tom

P.S. it is freezing cold to write in the open with an air temperature of 2 degrees.

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