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Published: Wednesday 04 September, 2013

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Last years record shrinkage of Arctic sea ice and a spell of catastrophic droughts, floods and storms highlight the risk to the planet from climate change, the UN Environment Programme UNEP says.



In an annual review of the worlds environment coinciding with ministeriallevel talks in Nairobi, UNEP also warned of an alarming surge in elephant and rhino poaching.



In 2012, summer sea ice in the Arctic covered a record low area of 3.4 million square kilometres, which was 18 per cent below the previous recorded minimum in 2007, and 50 per cent below the average in the 1980s and 1990s, UNEP said.



Land ice in Greenland also showed signs of melting and permafrost in high latitudes was in retreat, it said.



Changing environmental conditions in the Arctic, often considered a bellwether for global climate change, have been an issue of concern for some time, but as of yet this awareness has not translated into urgent action, UNEP executive director Achim Steiner said.



He pointed to a rush to extract the oil and gas in the Arctics seabed as the ice retreats and cautioned that the outcome could be even greater emissions of greenhouse gases.



What we are seeing is that the melting of ice is prompting a rush for exactly the fossilfuel resources that fuelled the melt in the first place, said Steiner.



The rush to exploit these vast untapped reserves has consequences that must be carefully thought through by countries everywhere, given the global impacts and issues at stake.



The UNEP 2013 Year Book also noted a string of weather disasters, of which the United States bore the brunt michael kors outlet stores online , including its worst drought in decades as well as Hurricane Sandy.



Extreme weather michael kors outlet stores online events . in 2012 draw attention to the need to prepare for and make efforts to prevent heavy losses as a result of climate change, it said. michael kors outlet stores online

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