Climate change is more rapid in the Arctic than almost any where else on the planet, leading to greater areas of the Arctic Ocean being ice free than ever before in the history of oil exploration. This makes oil exploration easier, an opportunity that Shell are keen to exploit.
But picture this: if a leak or spill occurs as the ocean begins to freeze over for the winter, there are no tools or methods available to contain and recover the oil. Floating booms won't work. Detergents won't work (and can cause damage themselves). The oil will be locked in the ice, travelling around the ocean until it melts next year, depositing a filthy slick
And forget the picture post card images from Frozen Planet. It isn't all sunshine and blue skies. In the event that something goes wrong during a fierce polar storm, any rescue mission would be delayed for days or weeks until it abates.
Today, Greenpeace has taken direct action to close Shell forecourts in Edinburgh and London to highlight the issue.
But don't go to a BP filing station instead: they have not covered themselves in glory between the DeepWater Horizon incident there are the Canadian Tar Sands and their own attempts at exploration in the Arctic, although they are the official Sustainability Partner for the London 2012 Olympic Games.
Or Esso, part of the Exxon group, which is infamous for its Valdez oil spill off the Alaskan coast, the largest spill ever until DeepWater Horizon, its significant contributions to the discredited Heartland Institute and unashamed support of Fracking.
That doesn't leave much choice, other than getting off our addiction to the black stuff.
BP on the Candian Tar Sands: http://www.bp.com/sectiongenericarticle800.do?categoryId=9040475&contentId=7067101
Exxon on the environmental benefits of Shale Gas: http://www.exxonmobilperspectives.com/2012/06/14/greater-u-s-shale-gas-production-helps-deliver-a-drop-in-u-s-carbon-dioxide-emissions/
From MeecoYoueco: The New Arctic Goldrush: http://www.unitesociety.com/the-new-arctic-gold-rush/info-98.html
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