SERIOUS MONDAY: 30 MILLION ACRES OF LAND IN THE ARCTIC FOR SALE

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Campaigners have lost their fight to prevent oil and gas leases being sold for millions of acres of land in the Arctic.

The US government has ignored warnings from the World Wildlife Fund and environmentalists in Alaska that the sale of 30 million acres will put the Arctic at great risk.

WWF says the Arctic is already suffering the catastrophic effects of global warming. Snow cover is decreasing, sea levels are rising and sea ice is shrinking.

And it says the oil lease is a disaster waiting to happen. The chance of a major oil spill is put at around 40 per cent and the technology does not yet exist to effectively contain and clean up oil spills.

WWF had called for the US to delay or withdraw the sale “until we have a better understanding of its impact on arctic wildlife and habitats.”  In addition, it says, an expected listing of polar bears as threatened under the U.S. Endangered Species Act has been delayed.

There are fears that if arctic sea ice continues to melt at its current rate, the magnificent polar bear could be extinct by the end of this century.

Carter Roberts, president of WWF-US says: “Selling off our natural heritage to the highest bidder is a sad spectacle and represents a step backwards in our efforts to save the irreplaceable Arctic and the magnificent polar bears for future generations.

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The sea involved provide a habitat for polar bears, walrus, whales, seals, and migratory birds and is experiencing some of the most rapid loss of sea ice in the world due to global warming.

And the National Audubon Society in Alaska has warned that the lease sale places the people, wildlife and water of the Arctic at risk.

WWF has a special online Polar Bear tracker which allows you to keep up to date with its data on this wonderful animal.

Susan

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