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'Planetary Emergency': New Data Elevates Climate Change Alarm

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Drawing on new data on the rate of melting arctic ice released Wednesday by the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC), leading scientific experts and environmental campaigners upped the level of alarm and issued a renewed call to action by calling the growing reality of climate change a "planetary emergency".

The NSIDC reports shows that the melted areas of Arctic sea ice had not only hit a record low this year, but that it had dramatically receded to levels not previously anticipated. NSIDC director Mark Serreze expressed shock by the center's data, declaring "we are now in uncharted territory".

Kumi Naidoo, the international head of Greenpeace, which held a public forum on Wednesday in New York to discuss the climate change crisis, described the efforts to curb greenhouse emissions and the race to save the Arctic as "the defining environmental battle of our era".

The ice report from NSIDC, coupled with reams of growing evidence about human-caused climate change, said Naidoo, "represents a defining moment in human history."

"In just over 30 years we have altered the way our planet looks from space," he said, "and soon the North Pole may be completely ice free in summer. Rather than dealing with the root causes of climate change the current response from our leaders is to watch the ice melt and then divide up the spoils."
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