Record Arctic sea ice losses this year
and the prospect of an ice-free summer Arctic begs the question: what
will Santa Claus do? Nothing, actually. He's already done it. Kris
Kringle's home and distribution center have recently been relocated onto land.
"The North Pole location is
officially a myth," said Ilbereth, Kringle's head spokeself.
"We are now located in northern Greenland, on solid ground." The new facility has been named North Pole Station in order to avoid confusing children or give Hollywood producers an excuse to remake all of the classic holiday movies.
"And not to slight the people of Greenland, to whom we are eternally grateful, but Greenland doesn't carry quite the same holiday cachet as the North Pole," explained Ilbereth.
Over the past 10 years it has become
increasingly obvious to those living in the Arctic that the climate
has been changing fast. Not only is the sea ice extent and thickness
decreasing in the summer, but on land thawing permafrost is causing
damage to roads and buildings. There are also other major changes to
wildlife on and off land.
"Mr. Kringle is an adamant
advocate of climate science. He chose to act immediately rather than wait any
longer," Ilbereth told Discovery News. "The signs are all
there. The models are very clear. It was time to move."
The entire relocation process took three years and was completed earlier this year, Ilbereth reported.
As far back as 10 years ago Discovery News provided exclusive reports on the growing struggles Santa Claus' helpers were facing
due to ice losses at the North Pole.
Thinning ice had, for instance,
caused a dramatic increase in the number of incidents of flying
reindeer punching through the ice upon landing. None of the reindeer were seriously harmed, since elves have always
been prepared for such accidents by keeping large sticky candy canes
on hand to fish the reindeer out.
"That's why large candy canes were
invented," said Ilbereth. "But we will continue to keep them
around for decoration on dry land. Some traditions are worth keeping."
In 2002 Santa Claus also authorized the
equipping of reindeer with personal flotation devices. That practice
will be continued, said Ilbereth, since it has proven useful on Christmas Eve when landing Santa's sleigh on increasingly unreliably frozen lakes and rivers.
Among the other climate change related changes seen in Santa's operations in the last decade include the
ending of the time-honored practice of giving lumps of coal naughty
"Santa Claus did not want the
dirtiest of all fossil fuels to be associated in any way with this
holiday," Ilbereth explained. The best place for coal is in the
ground, where it belongs, he added. "Santa's position is that the
very best way to sequester carbon and keep it out of the atmosphere
is not to dig it up in the first place."
Coal has been replaced
with lumps of basalt, a dark lava rock. What's more, extremely bad children and science denialists will receive Hawaiian basalt, which carries with it the curse of the volcano goddess, Pele.
Santa's take-home message, Ilbereth
emphasized, is threefold: First of all, Santa's operations are safe. Second,
people and institutions worldwide should start behaving themselves and take
climate change very seriously. Third, "Unlike Santa, climate change doesn't require your belief. It's happening anyway."