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Human-driven climate change is pushing the Antarctic towards numerous tipping points that will impact wider earth systems, with profound implications for humanity and biodiversity. This is the conclusion of an interdisciplinary Expert Working Group of leading Antarctic scientists published in the new report, Polar Perspectives No. 5 | Climate Change and Southern Ocean Resilience.

Issued in concurrence with the annual meeting of the Antarctic Treaty Consultative Parties hosted by France June 14-24, 2021, Polar Perspectives No. 5 examines how climate change is rapidly pushing five critical, interconnected processes in the Antarctic Southern Ocean towards substantial changes. It warns that disrupting these processes may disproportionately exacerbate global climate change and have widespread impacts on marine and human life worldwide, due to the region’s central role in regulating our earth systems. The Expert Working Group notes that we can build resilience in the Antarctic through a set of climate-focused actions, including establishing marine protected areas (MPAs) around Antarctica and incorporating climate change issues into management and decision-making, in tandem with further cuts in greenhouse gas emissions to help safeguard societies and economies around the world.

The Summary for Policymakers has been made available in six different languages. Please find these documents below. To download the full report, follow the orange button above.


Polar Institute

Since its inception in 2017, the Polar Institute has become a premier forum for discussion and policy analysis of Arctic and Antarctic issues, and is known in Washington, DC and elsewhere as the Arctic Public Square. The Institute holistically studies the central policy issues facing these regions—with an emphasis on Arctic governance, climate change, economic development, scientific research, security, and Indigenous communities—and communicates trusted analysis to policymakers and other stakeholders.  Read more

Latin American Program

The Wilson Center’s prestigious Latin American Program provides non-partisan expertise to a broad community of decision makers in the United States and Latin America on critical policy issues facing the Hemisphere. The Program provides insightful and actionable research for policymakers, private sector leaders, journalists, and public intellectuals in the United States and Latin America. To bridge the gap between scholarship and policy action, it fosters new inquiry, sponsors high-level public and private meetings among multiple stakeholders, and explores policy options to improve outcomes for citizens throughout the Americas. Drawing on the Wilson Center’s strength as the nation’s key non-partisan forum, the Program serves as a trusted source of analysis and a vital point of contact between the worlds of scholarship and action.  Read more

China Environment Forum

Since 1997, the China Environment Forum's mission has been to forge U.S.-China cooperation on energy, environment, and sustainable development challenges. We play a unique nonpartisan role in creating multi-stakeholder dialogues around these issues.  Read more

Kennan Institute

The Kennan Institute is the premier U.S. center for advanced research on Russia and Eurasia and the oldest and largest regional program at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. The Kennan Institute is committed to improving American understanding of Russia, Ukraine, and the region through research and exchange.  Read more