Scientists said Greenland experienced its biggest ice melt of the summer just one day after Democratic 2020 hopefuls took to a CNN debate stage in Detroit and sparred over plans to combat climate change.
CNN on Friday reported that the loss of 11 billion tons of surface ice, which melted into the ocean, comes after record temperatures in the region have reached all-time highs over the past several months. The amount of surface ice lost in the single day is equivalent to 4.4 million Olympic-sized swimming pools, per CNN.
While ice in Greenland typically melts during the summer months, it does so starting at the end of May. This year, the melting began at the beginning of the month, climate scientist Ruth Mottram told CNN.
Greenland’s ice sheet melted by some 197 billion tons in July alone. Mottram said the yearly average by this point is typically somewhere between 60 to 70 billion tons.
Meanwhile, in the United States this week, 20 Democratic candidates for president were asked about their plans to combat global climate change as part of CNN’s two-night debate event, which covered issues ranging from health care to immigration to the environment.
Per Scientific American, candidates during the second debate took aim at former Vice President Joe Biden and his plan to deal with global warming and its consequences.
Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, who made both his opening and closing statements at the Wednesday night debate about climate change, attacked Biden for what he said was a plan that was not aggressive enough in trying to slow climate change.
More than 10 billion tonnes of ice was lost to the oceans by surface melt on Wednesday. https://t.co/3ZhCXW1WNz
— CBC News (@CBCNews) August 2, 2019
“Middle-ground solutions, like the vice president has proposed… are not going to save us,” Inslee said. “We have to have a bold plan, and mine has been called the gold standard,” he said.
The former vice president defended his plan, and insisted that it wasn’t a middle-of-the-road approach. The presidential hopeful had released a more progressive approach to climate change in June. This followed criticism he received for comments about climate change that environmentalists criticized as not being aggressive enough in solving the environmental crisis, per Scientific American.
According to The Seattle Times, Inslee has had the support of a super PAC called “Act Now On Climate,” which has raised some $2.2 million for the candidate’s bid for president. About half of that money came from one person – environmental philanthropist Rose Letwin – who donated $1 million to the Washington governor’s campaign.
Current President Donald Trump has rolled back at least 83 environmental protections since he took office, according to a report from The New York Times in June. At least 22 of those rollbacks pertain to policies that attempted to limit air pollution and the amount of greenhouse gasses the U.S. releases into the atmosphere.