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Monday, May 8, 2017

Arctic Shipping Might Soon Be More Sustainable, Thanks To Global Warming

Arctic Shipping Might Soon Be More Sustainable, Thanks To Global Warming

Right now, a non-stop trip from Europe to East Asia takes 30 days. From New York to Japan, it takes at least 25. That's not counting the extra time it can take to navigate the locks of a canal, which can add hours or even days to the journey.

"If human greenhouse gas emissions aren’t curbed, global shipping could realistically use Arctic routes without ice-strengthened ships, and take advantage of the substantial distance saving they afford," researcher Nathanael Melia wrote for Carbon Brief.

The researchers used global climate model simulations to predict that by 2030, sea ice will likely have melted enough that the trip from Europe to East Asia will take just 22 days, as ships will be able to travel close to the North Pole. If global greenhouse gas emissions can't be lowered to meet the Paris agreement targets, that trip could take as few as 17 days.

“We know what is likely to happen to sea ice,” Melia told The New York Times. “It will reduce decade on decade, and open up vast swaths of the Arctic Ocean.”

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