The Stream, November 23: Sea Ice In Peril As Arctic Temperatures Soar

The Global Rundown

A heatwave in the Arctic means that sea ice could shrink to its smallest extent ever over the next year, scientists warned. The United Nations secretary-general called for more cooperation between countries that share water resources. Hearings began in London over oil pollution in the Niger Delta. A start-up company commenced a trial run of its plan to ship water from Suriname to drought-hit countries in the Caribbean. Promise of a new water supply point in the Missouri River, further downstream of the Dakota Access oil pipeline, has failed to relieve concerns about water contamination on the Standing Rock Sioux reservation.

“We must also recognize the potential for cooperation around shared water resources. And let us commit to invest in water security as a means to ensure long-term international peace and security.” –United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, calling for the improved management of hundreds of transboundary rivers and aquifers worldwide during an address to the Security Council. (UN News Centre)

In context: Explore the connections between water and conflict with Circle of Blue’s HotSpots H2O series.

By The Numbers

113 kilometers Distance between the place the controversial Dakota Access oil pipeline would cross the Missouri River and a new downstream water supply point for the Standing Rock Sioux reservation that is scheduled to come online next year. Though the new point will be farther away from the pipeline than the reservation’s current source, it does not alleviate the tribe’s concerns about potential contamination. Reuters

In context: Read how the Dakota Access oil pipeline represents the financial risks and social tumult caused by mega-scale development projects in the 21st century.

$2 million Amount private investors have spent so far to develop Amazone Resources, a start-up that seeks to ship water from Suriname to water-scarce countries. This week, the company is performing a pilot delivery to the Caribbean islands of Barbados and Curaçao, both of which are suffering a drought. Bloomberg

Science, Studies, And Reports

Temperatures over the Arctic Ocean have reached 20 degrees Celsius above normal this November, according to researchers at Rutgers University who said they were “off the charts”. Other scientists in the United States and Denmark also measured warmer than normal sea surface temperatures, leading them to anticipate record low levels of sea ice in the coming year. Guardian

On The Radar

Three days of hearings will be held this week at the High Court in London, where lawyers representing more than 40,000 people living in the Niger Delta will argue that Royal Dutch Shell is responsible for oil pollution that has contaminated drinking water supplies and the environment. The company blames the pollution instead on pipeline sabotage and illegal refining operations, and says the case should be tried in Nigeria. AFP