Global Warming Effects Around the World

Solutions to Global Warming for the Polar Regions

Progress at the international level toward a binding agreement to reduce global warming emissions is critical to ensuring the future stability of the polar regions.

The Arctic (North Pole) has shown the most rapid rate of warming, with dramatic effects such as shrinking of this region's glaciers, ice caps, ice sheets, and permafrost. The loss of permafrost is of particular concern—when permafrost melts, it releases carbon stored in the soils, and when boreal forests and peat bogs burn, they release carbon stored in the trees and peat. Unfortunately, all of these impacts are due to the combined effect of global warming emissions from other regions. In the Antarctic (South Pole), rapid change is evident on the Antarctic Peninsula—southeast of Argentina and Chile.

Changes at the poles have both local and global implications. The retreat of glaciers and shrinking of the Greenland ice sheet in the Arctic, for example, is predicted to cause significant sea-level rise, changes in the salinity of our oceans, and altered feedback loops that will make the Arctic warm up even faster. Organizations like the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and the International Arctic Science Committee play a critical role in advancing the science related to polar areas.

Solutions to Global Warming
Australia & New Zealand
Latin America
North America
Polar Regions
Small Islands
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Why You Need to Act Now
Substantial scientific evidence indicates that an increase in the global average temperature of more than 2°F above where we are today poses severe risks to natural systems and human health and well-being. To avoid this level of warming, the U.S. needs to reduce heat-trapping emissions by at least 80 percent below 2000 levels by 2050. Delay in taking such action will require much sharper cuts later, which would likely be more difficult and costly.