1 December, 2015

BAS Organises Side Event for 2015 Paris Climate Conference (COP21)

Journalists wishing to arrange interviews with keynote speakers from this session should contact Heather Martin.

As world attention focuses on this week’s climate change talks in Paris, leading scientists, economist and geopolitical commentators highlight the increased prominence of Arctic issues for European and global society.

A European Commission (EC) Briefing Session, hosted by the European Polar Board, and two EC-funded initiatives – EU-PolarNet and ICE-ARC – examine the science, impact, opportunities and potential conflicts arising from Arctic climate change.

Session speakers include Peter Horvath, EC Directorate General for Research and Innovation; Sir David King, UK Government Special Representative for Climate Change; Professor Jean-Claude Gascard, Senior Scientist, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS); Anthony Hobley, Chief Executive, Carbon Tracker Initiative; Sheila Watt-Cloutier, Former Chair of the Inuit Circumpolar Conference; and Thorben Hoffmeister, Executive Officer Geopolitics, Bundeswehr Geoinformation Center.

Session organiser Dr Jeremy Wilkinson from British Antarctic Survey (BAS) is an expert on sea ice and project lead for ICE-ARC – which investigates the current and future changes in Arctic sea ice and examines the economic and social consequences of these changes.  He says:

“The increased global focus on the Arctic brings significant regional opportunities and possibilities, such as new shipping routes, fisheries, and hydrocarbon extraction. But with this comes the potential for conflict and risks to human activities across the region and beyond. The ICE-ARC project, EU-PolarNet (an EU Coordinating Action) and the European Polar Board are committed to connecting science with society through dialogue and engagement with businesses and communities living on the frontline of environmental change.  The aim of our session is to stimulate new thinking and raise awareness of the importance for discussion crossing the boundaries between science and society.”



Issued on behalf of EC, European Polar Board, EU-PolarNet and ICE-ARC by the Press Office at British Antarctic Survey.

To arrange interviews or obtain background information please contact:

Heather Martin, Press & PR Manager – Arctic, British Antarctic Survey, Tel: +44 (0)1223 221 226;

Mobile: 07584 52 00 42; Email: hert@bas.ac.uk

Athena Dinar, Senior Press & PR Manager, British Antarctic Survey, Tel: +44 (0)1223 221 441;

Mobile: +44 7909 00 85 16; Email: amdi@bas.ac.uk

The Arctic is undergoing fundamental change. Long-term temperature records have revealed that the Arctic has warmed faster than other regions of our planet. This ‘Arctic amplification’ of global warming has led to major and quantifiable changes across the region from changing atmospheric circulation patterns and the melting of glaciers and ice sheets, through to the thawing of permafrost and the changing of the physical environment in, on, and above the Arctic Ocean.

These changes influence weather patterns well beyond the Arctic.  However these are not the only pressures on the region as the increase in the demand for natural resources are providing opportunities for investment, with estimates of $100bn or more coming to the Arctic region over the next decade.  But a balanced economic scorecard must consider industry sectors that face economic risks from Arctic change.  Consequently the environmental, socio-economic, and geopolitical consequences associated with the Arctic change bring opportunities and risks.

Session details: Arctic Change – what this means for you

(Climate Change in the Arctic – Local, Regional and Global Impacts)

14.30-16.00 at the European Union Pavilion, Hall 2B in the Blue Zone of Le Bourget, Paris, France

Speaker programme can be found here: https://www.bas.ac.uk/event/cop21-side-event-climate-change-in-the-arctic/

British Antarctic Survey (BAS), an institute of the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC), delivers and enables world-leading interdisciplinary research in the Polar Regions. Its skilled science and support staff based in Cambridge, Antarctica and the Arctic, work together to deliver research that uses the Polar Regions to advance our understanding of Earth as a sustainable planet. Through its extensive logistic capability and know-how BAS facilitates access for the British and international science community to the UK polar research operation. Numerous national and international collaborations, combined with an excellent infrastructure help sustain a world leading position for the UK in Antarctic affairs. For more information visit www.bas.ac.uk

ICE-ARC (Ice, Climate, Economics – Arctic Research on Change) is an £11.5M, four-year programme of research (2014-2017), which investigates the environmental, economic and social impacts of a changing Arctic. Physicists, chemists, biologist, economists and sociologists from 23 institutes and 11 countries across Europe, Greenland and Russia have to study and better understand the multifaceted impact of Arctic change.

EU-PolarNet is the world’s largest consortium of expertise and infrastructure for polar research. Seventeen countries are represented by 22 of Europe’s internationally-respected multi-disciplinary research institutions. From 2015-2020, EU-PolarNet will develop and deliver a strategic framework and mechanisms to prioritise science, optimise the use of polar infrastructure, and broker new partnerships that will lead to the co-design of polar research projects that deliver tangible benefits for society.

The European Polar Board is an independent European Organisation of Directors and Managers of the major European National Polar Programmes. It was established in 1995 by the European Science Foundation as a strategic advisory body on Polar Science. It is concerned with major strategic priorities in the Arctic and Antarctic and has members from national operators and research institutes in 17 countries.