The Arctic—home to diverse wildlife and many cultures—is changing faster than any other part of the planet in the face of climate change. Melting sea ice is already contributing to rising ocean levels worldwide and opening up new areas of the ocean for risky oil drilling. And polar bears, which depend on that ice to hunt seals, rest, and breed, are now more vulnerable than ever.
The Columbia Climate Center, in partnership with WWF and Arctic 21, published a new report that asks experts to consider the effects on the Arctic in light of an international agreement that aims to limit climate change to between 1.5° and less than 2° s C. Unfortunately for the Arctic, even that limited increase could mean a change of roughly 4°C and even up to 5°C.
Already, the changes are impacting not only Arctic residents, but billions of people living in other parts of the world.