The Arctic Is Diminishing And World Leaders Must Take Notice

It might seem crazy to camp in the snow when the world’s elite descend on this sleepy alpine village for annual World Economic Forum meeting, but camping is what we’re doing. While it’s true that scientists can’t afford hotels in Davos at this time of year, that’s not the only reason we’re camping.

We’re here to sound the alarm to the WEF on Arctic change. The Artic is warming twice as fast as the rest of the planet and this has significant consequences for the rest of the world. The Arctic matters.

These changes can be seen on the sea ice, in the ocean, up in the atmosphere and on the land – but all the latest scientific evidence shows that what happens in the Arctic doesn’t stay in the Arctic. We’ve brought that evidence to Davos to show world leaders, without doubt, that climate change is real, it’s happening now and that humans are largely responsible.

Our scientists bring a vast range of expertise and can, for example, identify links between the extreme weather events of 2017 and 2018 and the changes happening in the Arctic.

We have evidence that shows that the Arctic sea-ice has lost over three quarters of its volume in just a few decades. Losses such as this have planetary consequences. Rising sea levels caused by the rapidly warming Arctic are causing coastal flooding the globe over, and we see disruption to Northern Hemisphere eco-systems, the consequences of which we are yet to fully discover.

All of these changes bring profound social and economic consequences. Extreme weather ruins lives and brings heartache and destruction to communities, but it also destroys and disrupts business supply chains and local, regional, national and international economies. The ICE-ARC research programme indicates the cost of Arctic warming will run into the trillions of dollars unless there is immediate action to address the changes and their effects.

But we’re not here at WEF just to talk about money, although we know many people associate the annual conference with wealth and business. WEF is actually about finding and defining ways of dealing with global risks – like Arctic change – and coming up with solutions through international collaboration. That’s why we are here and that’s why we, scientists from all over the world, have all come together here in Davos.

And it’s not just us in this Arctic partnership. We’re working with Mission 2020 and the UN Global Goals to make sure that as we raise awareness of the problem – we help showcase the solutions too.

So our campsite for Davos is actually The Global Goals Arctic Basecamp, an immersive Arctic experience with the latest scientific evidence and research technology with a showcase of solutions and opportunities to inspire action amongst the world leaders and top decision-makers at Davos.

Led by former UN Climate chief Christina Figueres, Mission 2020 is a global campaign to accelerate action on climate change so we can reach a turning point on carbon emissions by 2020 and ensure all the Sustainable Development Goals can be achieved.

The theme for this year’s conference is creating a shared future in a fractured world and it is in that spirit we have set up this Arctic Basecamp, in the words of Ms Figueres: “The science sends one clear message: urgency, urgency, urgency. We have a golden opportunity between now and 2020 to step up our ambition and speed up our action on climate change. In service of our beautiful Arctic, in service of the Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Agreement, let’s turn the tide of emissions by 2020 so that everyone can prosper.”

Follow Arctic Basecamp on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. This blog was written with the help of Jennifer Francis, Bruce Forbes and Craig Lee live from the Global Goals Artic Basecamp in Davos.