The Arctic plays a crucial role in maintaining global climate, but human activities are causing irreversible damage to this fragile ‘great white shield,’ risking catastrophic shifts that have direct impacts on the G20 nations. Since 1980, the Arctic has experienced warming four times faster than the global average, in a phenomenon known as Arctic amplification. This has caused the extent of the Arctic’s reflective sea ice to shrink and the amount of heat going into the darker ocean to increase, causing more ice to melt in a self-amplifying feedback loop. As the Arctic becomes warmer and less reflective, changes are already evident across the globe through teleconnections, and more changes are expected. To address the challenges of a warming Arctic, the G20 members should conduct a multi-country study to improve the understanding of global risks associated with a warming Arctic and implement immediate efforts to cut short-lived climate pollutants (SLCPs) to slow the rate of warming, protect the Arctic, and keep the 1.5°C-guardrail within reach.
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