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Lecture – Choosing our Future: Antarctic Science in a Global Setting
March 5, 2019 @ 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm
Choosing our Future: Antarctic Science in a Global Setting
Steven L Chown
School of Biological Sciences, Monash University, Victoria 3800, Australia
Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research, Cambridge, United Kingdom
The Paris Agreement has changed views on how much can be done to improve the way humans interact with our world. The Sustainable Development Goals have had a similar effect. Despite these compelling global efforts, reports continue to highlight declining quality of ecosystems, increasing threats to species, and growing greenhouse gas emissions. Much needs to be done to develop a clearer picture of status, trends, pressures, and the impacts of mitigation response on regional systems. For the Southern Ocean and Antarctica, which comprise nearly a third of the globe, and contribute significantly to global biodiversity, ecosystems services, and sea level rise, this is especially true. The next several decades are a crucial time for determining whether change accelerates or can be retarded. How policy decisions play out in Antarctica and the Southern Ocean, how nations are in turn affected by these southern polar outcomes, and the nature of the feedbacks, will influence both global livelihoods and the future of the Antarctic region. Science is the only means available to develop the reliable knowledge needed to inform decision-making and reveal its consequences. Providing the best understanding of the Antarctic region and its global role, estimates of confidence in specific knowledge areas, and practicable approaches to address knowledge gaps are significant modern challenges for the science community.