Arctic Side Event in Paris Climate Conference 2015

EU-PolarNet is hosting, together with the ICE-ARC and the European Polar Board, a side event ‘Climate Change in the Arctic – Local, Regional and Global Impacts’ (Saturday 5th December,2015) at the COP21 conference in Paris.

The Arctic has been described as a barometer for the health of the global environment; it is a region in a state of flux. Long-term temperature records have revealed that the Arctic has warmed more than other regions. This ‘Arctic amplification’ of global warming has led to major and quantifiable changes across the region from changing atmospheric circulation patterns and the melting of glaciers and ice sheets, through to the thawing of permafrost and the changing of the physical environment in, on, and above the Arctic Ocean.

Increased global focus on the Arctic brings significant regional opportunities and possibilities, such as new shipping routes, fisheries, and hydrocarbon extraction. But with this comes the potential for conflict and risks to human activities across the region and the globe, including potential impacts to economic sectors far from the Arctic region due to inbuilt feedbacks within the global climate system.

This 90-minute Briefing Session will provide a flow of up-to-date information from researchers to participants and vice versa.  The session is divided into succinct keynote presentations (each by Leaders in their field) on the multi-sector impacts of Arctic change.


  • Peter Horvath, Directorate General for Research and Innovation, European Commission (BELGIUM)
  • Sir David King, FCO Special Representative for Climate Change (UK) – The Physical Basis of Arctic Change
  • Jean-Claude Gascard, Senior Scientist, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (FRANCE) – Scenarios for Arctic change and Global Consequences
  • Anthony Hobley, Chief Executive, The Carbon Tracker (UK) – Economic Impact of Arctic change; regional and global contexts
  • Sheila Watt-Cloutier, Former Chair of the Inuit Circumpolar Conference and this year’s winner of the Right Livelihood Award (CANADA) – Societal Consequences of Arctic change; regional and global contexts
  • Thorben Hoffmeister, Executive Officer Geopolitics, Bundeswehr Geoinformation Center (ZGeoBw) – Geopolitical and Security Consequences of Arctic Change

Download the COP21 poster (pdf)

EU-PolarNet is the world's largest consortium of expertise and infrastructure for polar research. Seventeen countries are represented by 22 of Europe’s internationally-respected multi-disciplinary research institutions. The University of Oulu is representing Finland in this consortium.

Last updated: 2.12.2015