Alanis Morissette would have had a field day with the ironic news that a study into climate change has had to be called-off because climate change has made it too dangerous.
A team from the University of Manitoba were meant to be undertaking an annual research expedition to monitor the impacts of climate change on Canadian coastal ecosystems and northern communities, but had to pull the plug as ice conditions became hazardous.
They warned that the “regrettable” decision to postpone the expedition is all the proof we need that climate change isn’t a future problem, it is already here.
The Canadian team, who are based on the Research Icebreaker CCGS ‘Amundsen’ off the coast of Newfoundland, had already decided to depart on their project six days earlier than last year because of “unusually severe” conditions.
Dr. David Barber, Expedition Chief Scientist, said: “Climate-related changes in Arctic sea ice not only reduce its extent and thickness but also increase its mobility meaning that the ice conditions are likely to become more variable and severe conditions such as these will occur more often.”
But despite having taken this into account, and planning to leave earlier than previous years - they have been running the project annually since 2003 - it still wasn’t enough time.
Although the icebreaker is capable of travelling through treacherous environments, the need to deal with new and “unusually severe” conditions in the south (caused by man-made global warming in the last year) would mean the ship would arrive too late to complete the necessary work.
So instead the team of 40 scientists were forced to cancel the first leg of the expedition entirely.
The university issued a statement, saying: “Unfortunately, the conditions required much more extended support than anticipated. Fleet management issues and inadequate alternative ships forced the cancellation of the science program due to significant safety concerns.”
And it is not just bad news for the research team, an expert said that this situation “clearly illustrates” that Canada is ill prepared to deal with the realities of climate change.
The decision is not expected to affect the remainder of the expedition this year, and will resume on 6 July, according to Dr. Barber.
At the beginning of June, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau criticised Donald Trump for his decision to force the US withdraw from the Paris Agreement on climate change.
After announcing the decision, President Trump claimed he “cares deeply about the environment”.
A White House memo explaining the President’s decision said: “The Paris Accord is a BAD deal for Americans, and the President’s action today is keeping his campaign promise to put American workers first.