On Wednesday 26 September 2018, Christel Schaldemose MEP, Chair of the “Polar Regions” Working Group of the EP Intergroup on “Climate Change, Biodiversity, and Sustainable Development” hosted the event “At the frontline of climate change: Key changes in the Polar Regions that call for European action”.
In the Arctic and Antarctic, dramatic physical changes have become emblems of climate change. However, other subtle changes are also becoming apparent, and may disrupt established structures, patterns and practices in ecosystems, communities and economic sectors. Across the Arctic, many diverse human communities and activities will need to respond to altered ecosystem services on which they currently rely. In both Polar Regions, our ability to benefit safely and sustainably from natural resources, and to preserve and conserve the natural capital, their unique biodiversity and wilderness, may be tested. The changes occurring in the Polar Regions are not just regional in impact. European weather for example is influenced by Arctic sea ice, and ice lost from Antarctica and Greenland contributes to rising global sea-levels.
This policy briefing aims at highlighting areas of polar change that have profound societal, environmental, economic and political impacts – both locally and for Europe at large – that need urgent attention from both European scientists and policy makers. These insights are retrieved from five recently published White Papers, which have been developed on behalf of EU-PolarNet with a team of multidisciplinary polar experts, stake- and right holders.
(picture: © Alfred-Wegener-Institut Mario Hoppmann)