Interview: Craig Benson

Craig Benson, Chemistry Professor, Montgomery College and co-organizer of the sustainability tour.

EarthTalk: Could you say a little about the health of Iceland’s glaciers?

Benson: Absolutely. The health of Iceland’s glaciers is pretty poor overall. Glaciers are receding around the world, including here in Iceland. Virtually all glaciers are in that receding phase right now.

E: Okay and the reason for that is?

Benson: Carbon emissions. Global climate change. Overall, the scientific consensus is that, absent carbon emissions we should be entering a cooling phase in the atmosphere. Instead it’s warming up at unprecedented rates. One of those effects is loss of glacier ice.

E: Outside of Iceland why should people care about this? How’s it going to affect us or why is it our concern?

Benson: Well I mean that’s a good point. Glaciers receding in and of itself, it’s not going to affect people all that much. But it’s indicative of poor health overall of the atmosphere. If there’s glaciers receding all over the world it means that there’s more energy in the atmosphere. And with all that extra energy there can be all sorts of effects. Climate change can lead to major storm system, it can lead to droughts, it can lead to flooding in different regions of the world. And so if you notice that the glaciers are receding as much as they are, then that’s sort of an indicator that overall the health of the atmosphere needs some attention.

E: So it’s an ominous sign for the future of all of us.

Benson: Yes.