Permafrost Day at COP26 Cryosphere Pavilion

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Nov. 4 (Thursday): Permafrost

10:00  Seabed Permafrost and Clathrates

Permafrost exists not only on land, but also in coastal regions flooded at the end of the last Ice Age. In addition, methane gas is held in “clathrates” even deeper under the ocean surface.  Future contributions of these sources to greenhouse gas emissions may be significant, but highly uncertain; and this event will outline the issues.

Organized by the Alfred Wegener Institute (AWI), Nunataryuk

Speaker: Paul Overduin, Alfred Wegener Institute

11:30  Committed Permafrost Emissions and Intergenerational Justice

Thawed permafrost begins emitting carbon as soon as its first thaw; but those emissions continue for over 100 years: and in some cases, centuries, depending on local conditions. This means that each degree of rising temperatures, and heatwave in the Arctic commits several future generations to so-called “negative emissions,” or carbon drawdown even long after human emissions go to zero.  What are the implications for Paris temperature goals?

Organized by the Bolin Center/Stockholm University, Alfred Wegener Institute (AWI), University of Exeter

Speakers: Gustaf Hugelius , Bolin Center/Stockholm University, Jens Strauss,  Alfred Wegener Institute, Sarah Chadburn, University of Exeter

Panel on intergenerational justice: Facilitated by Rachael Treharne, Woodwell Climate Research Center; Panelists: Darcy Peter, Woodwell Climate Research Center; Ruth Miller, Native Movement; Robbie James, Green New Deal Rising

13:00  Fires and Permafrost

Fires in the Arctic are increasing due to warmer and drier conditions, more extreme weather and lightning events, and human activity. Fires in northern peatlands may burn for many years (so-called “zombie fires”) and exacerbate permafrost thaw. In addition to destroying habitat, infrastructure, and impacting human health, wildfires and permafrost thaw also threaten global climate goals. What are the impacts of wildfires and thawing permafrost on Arctic residents, ecosystems, and carbon emissions?

Organized by the Woodwell Center for Climate Research.

Speakers: Sue Natali, Woodwell Climate Research Center, Rachael Treharne, Woodwell Climate Research Center

Panel: ‘On-the-ground impacts of fire and permafrost thaw: Moderator: Darcy Peter, Woodwell Climate Research Center; Panelists: Dulma Clark, Vivabarefoot; Sam Schimmel; Sue Natali, Woodwell Climate Research Center

14:30  Infrastructure Damage and Coastal Erosion

Permafrost thaw causes long-frozen soils to buckle, as well as coastlines to lose integrity and erode, impacting many indigenous coastal communities.  This infrastructure damage across Canada, Russia and Alaska will lead to billions of dollars of damage and remediation needs, but can be limited by lowering greenhouse gas emissions in accordance with Paris goals.

Organized by the Alfred Wegener Institute (AWI), Nunataryuk

Speakers: Hugues Lantuit, Alfred Wegener Institute (AWI), Nunataryuk and Inuit Circumpolar Council, tbc

16:00 Resilience & Management of Permafrost Wetlands

Wetlands and peatlands cover large areas in the Arctic permafrost region, and are globally important as long-term carbon sinks, as wildlife habitats and as migration pathways. At broad scales, human emission reductions are the only way to prevent widespread permafrost thaw, but at the landscape scale, effective management of wetlands can contribute significantly to climate adaptation and mitigation and conservation of biodiversity. In May 2021, The Resilience & Management of Arctic Wetlands project delivered a suite of Key Findings and Policy Recommendations to the Foreign Ministers of the Arctic States. This session presents and discusses these findings, including indigenous perspectives.

Organized by Conservation of Arctic Flora and Fauna, Stockholm Environment Institute and Inuit Circumpolar Council.

Speakers: Gustaf Hugelius , Bolin Center/Stockholm University; Dalee Samboo Dorough, Inuit Circumpolar Council; Marcus Carson, Stockholm Environment Institute

18:00  Permafrost Emissions and Overshoot Scenarios

Permafrost emissions will increase with increasing temperatures, and already today are on the same scale as Japan’s annual emissions; but may increase to those of China today under high emissions scenarios, erasing a great deal of human emissions reductions efforts.  This side eevnt will discuss the permafrost emissions implications of overshoot of Paris goals, and the benefits of never exceeding them.

Organized by the Bolin Center/Stockholm University, Alfred Wegener Institute (AWI), University of Exeter

Speakers: Gustaf Hugelius , Bolin Center/Stockholm University; Jens Strauss,  Alfred Wegener Institute; Sarah Chadburn, University of Exeter; Hugues Lantuit, Alfred Wegener Institute (AWI), Nunataryuk

19:30  Cryosphere Cèlidh: Andes