water in these regions.
This is having an effect on marine ecosystems and geologicalsystems. The polar oceans are a large carbon sink, not just through biological uptake, butbecause the polar regions are where the deep ocean waters are formed.
isdissolved and channelled down into the North Atlantic Deep Water and Antarctic DeepWater formations, where the CO
is stored for the entire duration of deep water circulation(~350+ years).
Climate change is drastically altering the oceans and the loss of thisimportant polar carbon sink would cause significant changes in the composition of theatmosphere.
Consequently, the polar regions should be targeted as areas that meritpreservation, thereby enabling the rest of the planet to be better protected.Humans should be concerned about the degrading health of the polar regions and theimpact modern climate change is having on the development within these fragileecosystems.
Arctic communities are learning they must adapt to modern climate change andprepare for the future impacts of development in the region.
Globally, citizens must adapt their lifestyles to the effects of modern climate change.
There should be strong worldwide concern about and action to address how Arcticdevelopment will delay the transition to a global green economy. Similarly,stakeholders must stringently evaluate the opportunity cost of economicdevelopment with the potential for threats to Arctic ecosystems. If Arcticdevelopment does occur, it must be sustainable to mitigate risk of damaging alreadydegrading ecosystems.Within the next decade, Arctic states will continue to make important environmental andeconomic decisions about the region that will influence domestic and global sustainability.
Despite existing frameworks like the Arctic Council,
every country in the world
has afundamental stake in shaping the decisions about the future of the Arctic.
Equally important are decisions about the future of Antarctica.
Despite existing frameworks such as the Secretariat of the Antarctic Treaty, there isurgent need for citizens to take responsibility for shaping decisions in this region.Rio+20 is the right opportunity to advance the sustainability imperative in the Arcticand Antarctic regions.
Recommendations1. Recognize the importance of polar regions within context of sustainabledevelopment
The Arctic was not identified as a fragile ecosystem in Agenda 21 of the United NationsConference on Environment and Development. As outlined in the previous section, researchand emerging trends have stressed the need for the polar regions to be prioritized on globalplatforms such as the United Nations. The sustainable development of the Arctic andAntarctic must be emphasized to support the objectives of the United Nations FrameworkConvention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and future international agreements.
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