News Briefing: May 2022

At this week’s Antarctic Treaty Mechanism meetings in Berlin, the Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research (SCAR) released a key synopsis of the changes taking place in Antarctica and the Southern Ocean. The ACCE Report summarizes the past decade of scientific evidence; and clearly states that global emissions must be reduced to limit temperature rise, slow Southern Ocean acidification, and mitigate sea-level rise from the Antarctic Ice Sheet. Most importantly, it underscores the impact of Antarctic changes on global society and human well-being. If global emissions continue at their current high levels, Antarctica could contribute 2 meters to sea-level rise already by the end of the century, putting more than one billion people at risk from coastal flooding; with many more meters after 2100 and beyond. Human emissions also jeopardize the survival of Antarctica’s ecosystems, delivering a devastating threat to local biodiversity and fisheries. This report provides specific recommendations on policy actions to address climate change, and highlights the need for urgent action to curb emissions within the 1.5 °C limit of the Paris Agreement.