Greenpeace reaction: vast Wilkins ice shelf disconnects from Antarctic

Press release - 5 April, 2009
The reported (1) shattering of the ice bridge connecting the Wilkins ice shelf to Antarctica was a complete contrast to progress on global action, Greenpeace said today from Bonn, where negotiations on a new climate deal start their second week tomorrow

"The breakup of this ice shelf is in vivid contrast to the glacial pace of the international climate negotiations, where governments are trying to avoid acting responsibly - and bickering about who's at fault," said Stephanie Tunmore of Greenpeace International.

"Let's have some real leadership here, starting with a commitment from industrialised countries to cut emissions by 40% by 2020 and followed by concrete measures to support developing country efforts to decarbonise".

This year's series of talks are due to culminate in a global deal at December's

Climate Summit in Copenhagen.

"As climate change in the real world becomes more visible by the day,the rarified 'bubble' of the climate talks continues to produce nothing but hot air. This has got to change, right here, right now."

Other contacts: In Bonn:Cindy Baxter ++31 646 197 332Stephanie Tunmore ++44 7796 947 451 mobileIn the UK:Dr Paul Johnston, Head of the Greenpeace International Science Labs, +44 7813890492

Notes: (1) quoting British Antarctic Survey * The Wilkins Ice shelf in Antarctica after a progressive decline and retreat over some years is now threatened with further collapse of the “ice bridge” which is the last connection to Charcot Island and which pins the remainder of the shelf in place. This may result in destabilisation and a total collapse of the shelf. * It is probable that the current reduction in ice-shelves in the region has no precedent in the last 10,000 years, and certain that this minimum has not been reached at any time in the last millennium. * Since the ice-shelves are floating, their collapse will not in itself contribute to sea level rise. Nonetheless, any resultant increase in the “flow” of inland glaciers due to the loss of the shelves, together with increased meltwater runoff will add to sea level rise.