1497: King Henry VII of England sent John Cabot in search of a northwest route to the Orient.
2007: Arctic melts, northwest passage opens.
And here’s why I am skeptical of using adorable polar bear cubs to promote action on global climate change: even under the IPCC’s best case scenario, we’re going to have about twice as much CO2 in the atmosphere as compared to preindustrial times. That’s about 550 parts per million. Though nobody really knows what that means for climate, the Northwest Passage has opened, and we’re only at about 350 parts per million. I strongly suspect the polar bears (and Steller’s sea lions, and walruses, and belugas) are in for a really, really bad century.