The Interior Department report on drilling practices in the Arctic appears to be mostly silent on the role of climate change.
The White House, which approved the draft report on Wednesday, called it “thorough and comprehensive” in a statement that said the “specific actions” from the report will “ensure that communities in areas affected by the development process are equipped to deal with the impacts.”
But the report doesn’t predict Arctic sea ice will continue to shrink, nor does it state that it will affect development in the way that other experts have suggested. Instead, it states the report is meant to provide “some clarity and guidance” to development in the region, including the potential for spills and spills of other kinds.
The report makes specific recommendations about how to respond to or respond to the spill. The report is on the grounds of Alaskan city of Anchorage, near the Alaskan homeland of native communities.
The National Climate Assessment, released in 2013, stated that human activity, including fossil fuel combustion, had substantially altered the climate in the United States over the past century, and that human activities will continue to alter it for at least the next 50 years. Those changes were projected to lead to “harsh impacts on some human populations and ecosystems,” including “hotspots of extreme heat” and “increased risks of heat waves, droughts, floods, and wildfires.”
After the release of the 2013 National Climate Assessment, Dr. Jane Lubchenco, then-Head of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, told CNN that future sea ice will depend on a number of factors, including changes in the amount of carbon in the atmosphere, a reduction in ice melt, and an increase in snowpack.
“We can look at all these things; what we don’t know is what’s going to happen to the winter sea ice. No one knows that. And that’s the thing we should be most worried about,” she said.
Indeed, sea ice in the Arctic has been shrinking since the mid-1970s, according to a NOAA report on Arctic sea ice. The report said that by the early 2010s, the Arctic summer ice cover was usually about 60% of its historical 1979-2000 average.