Stuff that matters

tanks for nothing

A Russian tanker plowed through the Arctic without an icebreaker for the first time.

The merchant vessel was built to bust through ice on its own, significantly speeding up the Arctic journey from Norway to South Korea. The company that owns the tanker says it made the trip 30 percent faster than previous voyages.

Not a good thing. Take the tanker as your daily reminder that Arctic sea ice is steadily melting. Oceanographer Simon Boxall told the Guardian that “even if we stopped greenhouse emissions tomorrow, the acceleration in the loss of Arctic ice is unlikely to be reversed,” so building for the Arctic is a “safe bet.”

The tanker is ferrying liquified natural gas. The Russian government expects the route’s usage to increase tenfold by 2020.