Antarctic experts call for Immediate Climate Action
During a recent gathering of experts from over 20 countries in Ōtautahi Christchurch, a multitude of attendees unveiled groundbreaking findings, pointing to remarkable transformations within Antarctic species, populations, and ecosystems. These revelations were accompanied by expressions of genuine concern and, in some instances, astonishment at the rapidity of these system-wide responses.
The following communique was drafted by attendee and Antarctic scientist are invited to add their support to the following communique.
Christchurch Communique: Urging Immediate Climate Action
Antarctica is currently experiencing dramatic changes at unprecedented rates, marked by repeated extreme events. These include circum-Antarctic summer heatwaves and an autumn heatwave last year, with temperatures soaring up to 40°C above the average. Moreover, both last summer and this winter, sea ice extent has reached record lows. These changes have happened even faster than scientists predicted.
These changes coincide with a broader global pattern of extreme air and sea surface temperatures, wildfires, floods, disease, and other events deeply impacting ecosystems and society. Scientists have warned society about global climate change and its impacts since the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s first report in the early 1990s. The Antarctic community has done so repeatedly too. These warnings are now being realised.
Antarctica is a crucial component of the Earth System and a sentinel for growing change. As Antarctic scientists, we see the evidence of mounting change, including changes in food webs, rapid change in populations, breeding failure and local ecosystem collapse, with projections of rapid transformation of a region that makes our planet liveable and contributes in extraordinary ways to global biodiversity.
This is a critical moment, impacting our well-being, future generations, and ecosystems globally. Confronted by this evidence, we urgently call on nations to intensify and exceed their current commitments to greenhouse gas emissions reductions. An immediate increase in ambition is required to reach net zero and to go beyond it. Pledges are not enough.
We have a narrow window for change. Events in the Antarctic we have observed and catalogued, and the projections from our research suggest that the window is closing fast.
The time for critical action is right now. What we do today will determine our future for centuries. We all deserve a brighter future. Together, we can make a difference.
If you agree with this statement and would like to sign this communique, please follow this link