This is the seventh article of the series on the "state of the art" of the Agenda 2030 in various areas of the world. In this case we will focus on Antarctic, namely the "Kingdom of Ice" on planet earth.
Its main characteristics are:
- Its surface is more than 14 million km²;
- it is covered with ice, which arrives to the sea along almost a million km². 90% of the ice of the whole planet can be found here;
- Temperatures can reach – 80°;
- It has a strategic position and its territory is rich in raw materials (carbon, hiron, cobalt, oil, gold, brass, chrome and many more);
- The territory is regulated by the Antarctic Treaty that entered into force in 1961, which guarantees scientific research, cooperation and information sharing on the continent while excluding its exploitation for mere personal interests. More specifically, in the treaty it is specified that "no State can assume the right to occupy the territory, which is heritage of humanity".
The greatest danger that this continent is facing is global warming. The achievement of the goals of the United Nations Agenda 2030 should be able safeguard also this exceptional area, rich of biodiversity and essential for the balance of the entire planet.
As of today unfortunately the situation is not ideal, and data shows that the Antarctic is rapidly changing compared to the last 37 million years (which is when our earth started covering with ice):
- The ice melting is increasing quickly. As clearly explained by Alessandro Silvano on the magazine “Science Advances”: “the process is similar to what happens when one mixes oil and water in a bottle; the oil floats over the water because it is lighter and less dense. The same happens in Antarctic between the glacial meltwater that remains above the ocean's water, which is more salted. Since the ocean's water is also warmer, its action in the submerged parts of the glacier snouts is very effective. This creates a sort of vicious circle that leads to an increase in Antarctic ice melting and of the seal levels.".
- The ice sheet is destabilizing, with a very high risk of massive ice melting. Today the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is more than 400 parts per million(ppm) and is constantly increasing; reaching 600-750 parts per million would mean, among other things, a rise in the ocean level of approximately 60 meters. If we do not put an end to this, 2100 may be the year of the catastrophe.
- On February 9, 2020 the temperature reached +20°, while normally it should always be below zero.
- Entire coastal settlements risk to disappear by the end of this century, which entire Nations (e.g. the Maldives) will completely cease to exist.
- Two of the biggest glaciers in the continent, the Thwaites and the Pine Islands, are at risk of disappearing. Provocatively, the University of Postdam has proposed few months ago to use snow cannons to keep them alive.
- The flora and fauna are being severely damaged and the number of species is decreasing drastically (with other non native species that are arriving due to climate changed).As an example, there will be approximately 80% di krill less and a – 40% penguins.
- Less glaciers and longer summers are severely affecting also polar bears, that can find less food and often find less food and die of starvation.
Based on all this, it is possible to underline how the situation is very serious and the time to solve it is increasingly reduced.
We are still too far behind compared to the objectives agreed upon in 2015, and adequate resources are still not usek.
The application of "environmental precepts" as indicated in the Agenda 2030 of the United Nations, would be a true caos for this land.
Especially the SDGs number 7 (clean and accessible energy), 13 (fight against climate change), 14 (underwater life) and 17 (partnerships for the objectives) are the ones that more than anything can contribute to saving the Antarctic and its beautiful ecosystem, so important for the entire planet.
All the States in the world should do their own part not to achieve the non-return change, putting aside the selfishness and collaborating together for a better use of prosperity and collective week-being.
Translated by: Elena Briasco