Arctic oil drilling Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Proibir o óleo combustível pesado no Árctico

LONDRES – Há trinta e cinco anos, como parte de uma expedição global, Charles Burton e eu cruzámos o Oceano Árctico através do Pólo Norte, acampando durante três meses numa massa de gelo em rápido movimento. Foi para nós uma jornada que definiu as nossas vidas e constituiu uma etapa de um recorde mundial duradouro.

Contudo, outro recorde — e este muito menos estável — pertence ao próprio gelo do Árctico: em Março deste ano registou a maior diminuição de sempre.

O desaparecimento do gelo polar é impulsionado pelo uso de combustíveis fósseis, o que está subjacente ao aquecimento global, tendo também um efeito mais imediato devido à dependência generalizada do óleo combustível pesado para propulsionar navios. O óleo combustível pesado é barato e abundante, mas também é tóxico e sujo. Quando os navios navegam no Árctico, contaminantes como o óxido de enxofre e o carbono negro são depositados no gelo e na neve. A acumulação de poluentes acelera a fusão da neve, o que aquece as águas oceânicas e, por sua vez, cria um ciclo auto-reforçado de mais degelo.

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