Iceberg Melt in Greenland
© Greenpeace / Nick Cobbing

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Climate: Arctic ice melts at record-breaking rate

It looks as though 2016 will set the record for least Arctic ice.

According to Andrew Freedman at Mashable, satellite data shows there was lower Arctic sea ice extent last month than has ever been observed at this point in the year.

Meanwhile the Guardian reports on worsening wildfires in and around Alaska, which the US government warns is accelerating climate change.

This follows our story last week on the million-hectare forest fire raging in Russia, and which the Kremlin is trying to cover up.

Climate Central meanwhile turns its attention south to the Great Barrier Reef, where it observes that more than half the best protected part of the underwater wonder is either dead or dying.

These environmental events have prompted a piece by The New Yorker in which it surveys UNESCO world heritage sites and looks at how they’re faring in this radically changing climate.

Fracking: Bernie Sanders and Scottish Parliament want bans

A new report by US government agencies states that offshore fracking in the Pacific is unlikely to have a ‘significant’ impact on the environment, reports Think Progress.

Naturally this set off Senator Bernie Sanders, who said he would make sure offshore fracking wouldn’t happen if elected president, according the Washington Post.

As Bloomberg reports, Sanders is pushing the Democratic Party to adopt an anti-fracking platform at its convention, arguing that it’s ‘too late for regulating’.

On this side of the Atlantic similar noises were made in the Scottish Parliament, which voted to support an ‘outright ban’ on fracking, reports the BBC.

SNP MSPs abstained from the vote, preferring a moratorium to an ‘outright ban’.

And finally French oil firm Total has abandoned its dream of fracking Denmark, returning the last of its licenses following disappointing drilling tests, reports The Local.

Oil: Expect another toothless OPEC meeting

After the dud in Doha, nobody is pinning their hopes on an OPEC production deal.

The BBC says it’s unlikely to happen, partly due to the recovery of the oil price in recent months – although it is still too low for many members.

But Bloomberg claims Saudi Arabia – the most powerful country in the cartel – is ready to consider a deal  in order to rehab the group’s reputation.

If one thing looks likely to happen, it’s the election of a new secretary general, with The Guardian reporting that Mohammed Barkindo – former boss of Nigeria’s national oil company – is the leading contender.

Whatever happens in Vienna, be sure to read this excellent interactive feature from Bloomberg Gadfly: ‘How OPEC Won the Battle and Lost the War’

In other news

Brexit: Coal and Biomass plant Drax says life would be ‘simpler’ out of the EU, reports The Telegraph.

Germany: The government appears to have agreed to slow down the deployment of renewable energy, reports Business Green.

France: The energy sector might be hit with rolling strikes, reports Reuters.

Chile: The country’s solar industry has expanded so quickly that it’s giving energy away for free, reports Bloomberg.