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Photo of the Day: Fossil fuels on thin ice

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If NASA’s latest “shocker” of a global heat record doesn’t scream “climate emergency” quite loud enough for you, this heavily symbolic image out of Canada might do the trick.

FuelTankerCrash3-16

Image Credit: Government of the Northwest Territories

The photo – yes that’s a fuel tanker that’s about to sink through melting ice on Canada’s Great Bear Lake (the driver reportedly escaped unharmed) – was snapped by the Government of the Northwest Territories, just days after it raised the weight limit on the Arctic Circle ice road crossing from 10 metric tons to 40 metric tons.

As Climate Progress’ Joe Romm points out, opting to quadruple the allowable weight limit on an ice crossing after the hottest February on record — which followed the hottest January on record – seems a little counter-intuitive.

After all, it’s been so warm up north that the last two months both set records for low sea ice in the Arctic. Indeed, the Arctic was so warm in January that National Snow and Ice Data Center chief Mark Serreze said it was “absurdly warm across the entire Arctic Ocean.” And in February, parts of the Arctic were 18°F warmer than normal — and central northern Canada was as much as 10°F warmer than normal.

But at least the Canadian PM is onto it. Justin Trudeau recently got global attention for signing a pact with the US to work together and with other countries to combat climate change and anchor economic growth in clean development.

As we reported here, the bilateral agreement targets various climate measures, including environmental protections in the Arctic, where melting ice is creating new opportunities for shipping and oil drilling – but not for trucking, apparently. Trucks do get a mention, however, with a separate pledge to “encourage robust leader-level” commitments to improve the environmental performance of heavy-duty vehicles through the G-20.

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  • john

    I noticed that a few days ago just remember to drive across the ice those trucks depend on thick ice that is able to hold them up.
    So this truck broke through the ice because it was heaver that the ice was able to sustain.
    The load has been pumped out but how on earth are they going to get the truck out of the situation it is in?
    I have no idea how low below the truck is hard surface.
    It would not surprise me if it is abandoned.
    Rather a comment on the stupid consumer lead society we live in.

    • DogzOwn

      How about attach kind of big air bags used to float full or part submerged shipping, so tanker floats when ice melts and can be towed to shore?

  • Miles Harding

    What’s a tanker load?
    We were out for a walk up to the post office last night and spotted a tanker filling the petrol station across the road, which got me to thinking what a tanker full represents in every day motoring. That 40,000 litres will drive a smallish car about 500,000 Km, so your Lancer will go though about 1/2 of the tanker during its life.

    Another thought was to translate this to solar panels. Lets say that we’ll take 20 years as the time frame. The tanker full of petrol has a total energy of about 388,000 kwh (9.7kwh per litre) which would equate something like a 12kW PV array running for the 20 years.

    This doesn’t sound very flash! the PV is huge and will cost more than 1/4 of the petrol in the tanker. Perhaps I’d better consider ICE combustion efficiency to get a better picture.

    Another way would be to look at the electric vehicle equivalent energy; Only about 30% of the fuel energy can be converted to useful work, and the tanker can run two Lancers for 20 years, resulting in a 2kW PV array being able to power each (now electric) Lancer. (12Kw * .3 / 2)
    By this logic, the PV electric fuelling cost is approximately 10% of the fossil fuelling alternative.