The Urgency of Addressing Climate Change: Melting Arctic Sea Ice and Greenwashing in Investments

Alfred Tang

Hatched by Alfred Tang

Jul 28, 2023

4 min read


The Urgency of Addressing Climate Change: Melting Arctic Sea Ice and Greenwashing in Investments


In 2023, an alarming infographic revealed that the Arctic sea ice cover had hit record lows. This continues a concerning trend of summer sea ice decreasing its cover by almost 13 percent per decade. The implications of this are far-reaching, as the melting of Arctic sea ice has significant consequences for global climate patterns, rising sea levels, and the livelihoods of Arctic communities. Simultaneously, the financial sector is facing scrutiny for greenwashing, where investment funds are alleged to have ties to fossil fuels. This article explores the connections between these two pressing issues and highlights the need for action to address climate change.

Melting Arctic Sea Ice:

The decline in Arctic sea ice has been a cause for concern for several decades. Records dating back to 1980 show a steady decrease in sea ice extent. However, the most significant sea ice melt occurred in 2020, setting a new record since data collection began in 1979. This alarming trend calls for immediate attention and action. The melting of Arctic sea ice not only disrupts the delicate balance of the Arctic ecosystem but also has global implications. As sea ice melts, it contributes to rising sea levels, which pose a threat to coastal communities worldwide.

Consequences for Climate Patterns:

The melting of Arctic sea ice has far-reaching effects on global climate patterns. The bright white surface of sea ice reflects sunlight back into space, helping to cool the planet. As the ice cover diminishes, more sunlight is absorbed by the dark ocean waters, leading to further warming. This positive feedback loop exacerbates the effects of climate change. The loss of sea ice also disrupts ocean currents, which play a crucial role in regulating weather patterns. Changes in these currents can lead to extreme weather events, such as hurricanes and heatwaves, in various regions around the world.

Impact on Arctic Communities:

The melting of Arctic sea ice directly impacts the indigenous communities that rely on the ice for their traditional livelihoods. Indigenous peoples in the Arctic have a deep connection to the land and sea, and their way of life is intricately tied to the health of the ecosystem. The decline in sea ice affects their ability to hunt, fish, and travel, threatening their cultural heritage and overall well-being. As the ice cover diminishes, these communities face challenges in adapting to their changing environment, further highlighting the urgency of addressing climate change.

Greenwashing in Investments:

In parallel to the melting Arctic sea ice, the financial sector is facing allegations of greenwashing. In 2023, ASIC commenced a case against Vanguard Investments Australia, accusing the company of misleading investors by exposing their funds to companies with ties to fossil fuels. The allegations involve investments in companies engaged in oil and gas exploration, which goes against the environmental, social, and governance (ESG) criteria that were supposed to be upheld. This case sheds light on the need for transparency and accountability in the investment industry to ensure that investor funds align with their ESG preferences.

Connecting the Dots:

The connection between the melting Arctic sea ice and greenwashing in investments lies in the shared responsibility of addressing climate change. The burning of fossil fuels is one of the primary drivers of global warming, leading to the melting of Arctic sea ice. By investing in companies linked to fossil fuels, investors indirectly contribute to the continued degradation of the Arctic ecosystem and exacerbate climate change. It is crucial for both individuals and institutions to consider the environmental impact of their investment decisions and demand greater transparency from financial institutions.

Actionable Advice:

  • 1. Educate Yourself: Stay informed about the environmental impact of investments and understand the ESG criteria used by financial institutions. This knowledge empowers individuals to make informed decisions and support sustainable investment practices.
  • 2. Demand Transparency: Hold financial institutions accountable by demanding transparency regarding the companies their investment funds support. By advocating for greater disclosure, investors can ensure that their funds align with their environmental values and contribute to positive change.
  • 3. Support Renewable Energy: Consider investing in renewable energy projects and companies that prioritize sustainability. As the demand for clean energy grows, so does the need for investment in renewable technologies. By supporting these initiatives, individuals can drive the transition to a low-carbon economy.


The decline in Arctic sea ice and greenwashing in investments are two pressing issues that highlight the urgency of addressing climate change. The consequences of melting Arctic sea ice extend beyond the Arctic region, impacting global climate patterns and coastal communities. Simultaneously, greenwashing undermines the efforts to transition to a sustainable future by misleading investors and perpetuating dependence on fossil fuels. To combat these challenges, individuals must educate themselves, demand transparency, and support renewable energy. By taking action, we can collectively work towards a more sustainable and resilient future for all.

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