WE really are a remarkably clever and technically intelligent species, while at the same time demonstrating all the selfishness and self interest typical of an animal struggling to find food and defend itself.

It has taken the last 10 years, and a billion dollars, to develop a new satellite that will measure the thickness of the ice on our planet using six lasers that cover all the frozen areas every three months. That’s us being clever.

While we’ve been able to measure the extent of the ice cover continuously, without a break, we have had no details of the thickness for the last ten years and it’s expected to show a significant reduction.

Local evidence suggests that the warming of the sea water is now reducing ice thickness from below resulting in the disappearance of much of the surface ice which previously has reflected solar energy, and so will allow the darker water to heat up even more.

You might expect us to take these findings seriously but all the evidence is that we aren’t able to. We will need to be knee deep in water with the roof blown off before we accept the need to alter the way we behave.

Flying is a real example of our dilemma as we love to get about on one of the 100,000 scheduled flights that take off globally somewhere in the world every day. With an average distance of over 1,500 miles they produce around 33 kg of CO2 for each one travelled, and even more at altitude.

Alarmingly this annual 2 billion tonnes of extra CO2 is increasing at around eight per cent each year, so it will have doubled in less than a decade, giving the satellite above even more thin ice to measure.

Then, of course, there’ll be almost another one billion of us, increasing our military forces, driving our cars, filling our wardrobes with unnecessary clothes, and consuming more than we need.

This greed is to be expected when you realise that the imminent climate threat is hardly reflected in any primary or secondary school syllabus.