May Boeve

May Boeve is executive director and co-founder of

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Recently, I read a story in The New York Times about Greenland and haven’t been able to get it out of my head since. As rising global temperatures melt the vast ice sheet that has long guarded the northern Arctic, fossil-fuel companies are rushing to extract newly available resources. Greenlanders, according to the report, are displaying mixed reactions: Some are hopeful for new jobs; others lament a decline in traditional ways of life. But neither the article’s author nor anyone interviewed raised the question that has stayed on my mind: What do these developments mean for the climate and, by extension, the rest of us? Whether we live in Brooklyn or Bangladesh, our fate will be revealed as the ice melts away. Extracting more fossil fuels from beneath ice sheets melted by the burning of fossil fuels won’t be just a bitter irony; it will be a disaster. This year, some of the world’s top climate scientists calculated that the amount of carbon dioxide stored in the reserves that oil,...