One Planet Polar Summit: what can we learn from it?

The One Planet Polar Summit, organized by the Élysée in line with other summits under the banner of ‘One Planet’ in recent years, is the first summit dedicated to glaciers and the poles. It was held in Paris from November 8 to 10.

One planet polar top Emmanuel MacronOne planet polar top Emmanuel Macron
Norwegian Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Store, Emmanuel Macron and French diplomat Olivier Poivre d’Arvor attend a working session during the One Planet Polar Summit at the National Museum of Natural History in Paris, November 10, 2023. // PHOTO: Yoan VALAT / POOL / AFP

The One Planet Polar Summit brought together scientists, researchers and politicians from around forty countries and glacier and polar regions at the National Museum of Natural History in Paris from November 8 to 10. This international summit aimed to share the scientific community’s findings and projections on ice melt due to climate change and to propose recommendations to governments for better protection of glaciers and polar regions.

“Polar research needs resources, which are very inadequate”alarmed Olivier Poivre d’Arvor, the French Ambassador for the Poles and the Ocean, at the opening of the summit. “We really need to make all leaders aware that this is a vulnerable space”he continued, adding that it was necessary to guarantee access for scientists to these regions to better understand the effects of global warming on the cryosphere and all the ice present on Earth: sea ice, glaciers, icebergs or permafrost.

Paris’s attraction to the poles and glaciers

At the end of the summit, Emmanuel Macron launched the “phone call from Paris about the poles and glaciers ». According to the French president, it already brings “ approximately thirty signatory states. Among them several European countries, but also India, Singapore, South Korea, Tuvalu and Australia.

Also read : Antarctica: revived to strengthen protection measures?

This call aims to strengthen international cooperation to better protect the poles and glaciers. It also includes strengthening research into the consequences of glacier and polar warming, as well as preventing and adapting climate policies in the face of accelerated erosion of the cryosphere.

1 billion euros in 2030 and a new boat

As part of France’s polar strategy, Emmanuel Macron announced that France would receive one billion euros “d‘by 2030’ in polar research. France supports the project, especially in the context of France 2030 Polar Pod by Jean-Louis Étienne in the Southern Ocean and the Polar Station Tara supported by the Tara Foundation.

France will also build a ship capable of navigating the ice covering the Arctic seas, which can grow several meters thick. This ship, based between Nouméa, in New Caledonia, and Hobart, in Australia, which is able to navigate in the ice blocking the polar seas and which can reach a thickness of several meters, will be shared between the Western Pacific Ocean and Antarctica. It will bear the name of former Prime Minister Michel Rocard, who was the first French ambassador to Poland, the French president said.

France will rebuild its Dumont d’Urville station on the Antarctic Peninsula from 2026 and will work on the renovation of the French-Italian Concordia station, while maintaining the best environmental standards, the head of state said, adding that Paris would participate in close collaboration with its European partners in a major research project in East Antarctica, where knowledge is still limited.

Maintain dialogue with Russia

For “the collapse » frozen surfaces of the planet, a challenge « unpublished » And ” civilization » for humanity, Emmanuel Macron advocated “ an unprecedented level of collaboration” in spite of the ” renewed geopolitical tensions“. The war in Ukraine weakens cooperation with major geopolitical and scientific powers”, he noted, in an allusion to Russia. “ Despite all these tensions, it is clear that we must take action and make the poles and glaciers privileged spaces for peace, scientific and ecological cooperation.“, he further underlined.

Despite the war in Ukraine, France argued Thursday for maintaining a “dialogue” with Russia in the field of research, especially regarding ice and the poles. “OWe will not be able to solve these challenges on the scale of France or on the scale of Europe. When we talk about the Arctic and Antarctic poles and the climate, we need a database that is representative of the planet“, said Sylvie Retailleau, Minister of Higher Education.

“We will miss data on permafrost (in Russia) and that is problematic”, she gave as an example. Russia is indeed home to a significant portion of permafrost – permanently frozen ground – also known as permafrost.

Matthieu Combe with AFP

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