from The Independent: Polar bears, the biggest land carnivores on Earth, face extinction this century if the Arctic continues to melt at its present rate, a study into global warming has found. The sea ice around the North Pole on which the bears depend for hunting is shrinking so swiftly it could disappear during the summer months by the end of the century, the Arctic Climate Impact Assessment (ICIA) says.
The ACIA said a warmer polar region will not only result in the possible extinction of the polar bear and other species. It will present serious challenges to the health and survival of some native peoples and their cultures.
Countries bordering the Arctic, notably Russia, Greenland and Canada, are already planning for the time when the north-west and north-east shipping routes are open all year round. Russia especially is expected to benefit hugely from the control of a year-round shipping route between Japan and Europe which will cut thousands of miles off present-day trade routes.