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Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Arctic ice cap could melt by 2070, Russia warns

By Moscow correspondent Scott Bevan

A Russian parliamentary committee has warned that the Arctic ice cap may be gone by 2070, wiping out animal species and displacing the region's indigenous people.

The North Affairs Committee of Russia's Upper House of Parliament has prepared a report which outlines a bleak future for the Arctic.

Committee member Yury Vorobyov has told the Interfax news agency that the thickness of ice in the Arctic Ocean has nearly halved in the past 30 years.

Overall, he says the ice cover has shrunk by almost a third in the past century.

Mr Vorobyov has warned that ongoing melting could disrupt the traditional lifestyle of northern indigenous people as large areas flood, and some animal species including polar bears will become extinct.

He says these dangers have to be taken into account by the Russian Government in its policies for the region.

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