The following events will take place on June 1, 2023 at the ATCM meeting in Helsinki.
Side Event & Evening Reception │ June 1, 2023, 17:00-20:00
Date: Thursday, June 1 from 17:00-20:00
Location: Scandic Grand Marina Hotel (located next to the ATCM venue: Marina Congress Center)
Meeting Room: Eliel + Selim
On the evening of June 1st, the Ambition on Melting Ice (AMI) High-level Group on Sea-Level Rise and Mountain Water Resources will be inviting delegates and interested parties to an evening reception where leading scientists and representatives of concerned countries will present the latest information on the global consequences of Antarctic ice loss and the related key issue of the acidification of the Southern Ocean, with major consequences for fisheries and food security.
To RSVP, please contact Lydie Lescarmontier: firstname.lastname@example.org
Youth for Antarctica │ June 1, 2023, 12:30-14:00
Date: Thursday, June 1 from 12:30-14:00
Location: Tove Jansson Park, Helsinki
On June 1st, the eve of the landmark ATCM/CEP session on climate change, the Antarctic and Southern Ocean Coalition (ASOC), which includes ICCI, will be organising a street art tour, leading visitors and delegates from the ATCM venue, the Scandic Marina Congress Center, to the Tove Jansson Park, where children will hand delegates cards with drawings and key messages in front of three ice sculptures. The aim is to underline how biodiversity and climate are interconnected and to give a voice to the young people who will grow up in a world with a very different climate. ICCI will also be present, with roll-ups showing the impacts of polar ocean acidification, and especially the large impact of Antarctic ice sheet loss on southern Finland and Estonia in the northeastern Baltic Sea/ Gulf of Finland.
New Climate Change Focus at Helsinki Antarctic Treaty meeting in June 2023
When the 45th Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meeting (ATCM) is held in the Finnish capital, Helsinki, from May 28 to June 8 2023, it will include a Climate Action Day. It is the first time such an event has been held since the Antarctic Treaty was signed in 1961. Friday 2 June will be dedicated to a full-day joint session of the ATCM and its related scientific body, the Committee for Environmental Protection (CEP) focusing on climate change.
The Consultative Parties to the Antarctic Treaty meet every year at the ATCM to exchange information, consult on matters of common interest relating to Antarctica, and to consider and recommend measures to their governments. The group consists of the original twelve Parties to the Treaty and “those Parties that demonstrate their interest in Antarctica by conducting substantial research activity there“. ATCM meetings traditionally focus on research cooperation and the management of human activities in connection with the protection of Antarctic biodiversity and ecosystems. In the climate change context, the emphasis is on impacts within Antarctica and on the Southern Ocean.
Impacts beyond the Antarctic
However, there is a growing scientific concensus that the greatest human consequences of climate changes affecting the Antarctic will be felt not by the small research and tourism communities active on the continent, but by vulnerable millions living in low-lying countries and regions. As outlined in the latest IPCC Report, if atmospheric CO2 levels are not radically addressed, billions may be affected by the loss of some or all of the Antarctic Ice Sheet, which holds a potential total of 57 meters of sea level rise.
An increasing number of studies of growing sophistication, taking account of the physical characteristics of ice sheets and ocean interactions, and calibrating models against real-world observations and paleo-climatic records, are converging on 1.8°C as a critical threshold which could trigger irreversible loss of portions of the ice sheet, especially the West Antarctic Ice Sheet.
Keeping this Antarctic ice frozen is thus an issue of global concern.
Ambition on Melting Ice
At last year’s UN Climate Conference COP27 in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt, 20 government ministers formed the Ambition on Melting Ice (AMI) high-level group on Sea-level Rise and Mountain Water Resources. AMI aims to ensure that the irreversible and devastating global impacts of cryosphere loss are understood by political leaders and the public alike, across the planet. In the founding Declaration, the partners write: “protecting the cryosphere through vigorous climate action is not a matter for mountain and polar nations alone: it is a matter of urgent global concern, because the greatest impacts on human communities lie well outside these regions.“ The group includes not only countries with ice and snow regions or mountains, but others far distant, which will be disastrously affected by sea-level rise, such as Vanuatu or Liberia.
(Founding countries:Chile (Co-chair), Iceland (Co-chair), Peru, Czech Republic, Nepal, Finland, Senegal, Kyrgyz Republic, Samoa, Monaco, Georgia, Liberia, Switzerland, Tanzania, New Zealand, Sweden, Vanuatu, Norway, Austria, and Mexico.)
At the ATCM in Helsinki, AMI (some states are ATCM parties, others not) will highlight the key role and global relevance of Antarctica from the point of view of climate impacts on vulnerable countries. The aim is to motivate rapid emissions cuts to keep the world to the lower Paris Agreement limit of 1.5°C and with minimum overshoot, in order to avoid waking ever-greater portions of the Antarctic ice sheet, the “sleeping giant.”
The loss of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS) alone could raise sea levels by 4 meters. This would wipe out much of Monrovia, the capital of founding AMI member Liberia, a country not generally thought of in conjunction with melting polar ice.