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Record low Arctic sea ice

Arctic sea ice hit record low levels, as the region experienced what scientists are calling a “warm, crazy winter”.

High temperatures over the Arctic Ocean led to record low amounts of sea ice for the second year running, with researchers from The National Snow and Ice Data Centre (NSIDC) warning that this could be part of a long term trend.

The Telegraph report that ice covered 5,000 square miles less than in 2015, which was previously a record low. Taken longer term, the figure for 2016 was 431,000 square miles less than the 30 year average.

NSIDC director Mark Serreze said: “I’ve never seen such a warm, crazy winter in the Arctic. The heat was relentless.”

The news comes as energy firms continue to pursue oil exploration in the Arctic, despite poor prices.

Italian firm Eni’s project off the coast of Norway has been marked by severe delays and cost overruns, but the company remains determined to drill in the region.

Oil prices back below $40 a barrel

Oil prices slumped again this morning, with investors concerned that the slight rally in the price of crude in 2016 may be petering out.

Analysts are concerned that US commercial crude stockpiles are set to reach record highs for a seventh successive week, leading to falling oil prices.

Brent LCOc1 and US oil CLc1 fell to $39.92 and $39.09, respectively. According to Reuters, data released by the American Petroleum Institute (API) and the U.S. Department of Energy’s Energy Information Administration (EIA), estimated that US crude stocks rose 3.2 million barrels, on average last week.

The news comes as Credit Suisse predicts that demand for oil will grow this year, with the price of a barrel likely to rise to $50 a barrel by May.

Bloomberg report the following cheery assessment from the Bank’s chief global energy economist Jan Stuart:  “Oil demand growth is alive and well. We think that with hindsight this winter will look like a dip in an otherwise still unfolding fairly strong growth trend that is partly fuelled by the ongoing economic recovery of in North America and Europe and longer standing trends across key emerging market economies.”

In other news

Australia: Great Barrier Reef hit by severe coral bleaching

China: Car makers see demand dwindle

China: Coal job cuts could be felt in Australia and US

China: Government makes big push for renewable power

India: Modi to focus on clean energy and job creation as economy continues to perform

Israel: Supreme Court blocks big gas deal

Saudi Arabia: World’s biggest oil producer suffers setback amid continued low prices