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Antarctic Commission starts vital talks on protecting polar regions

Climate experts around the world are urgently calling for the creation of new protected marine areas around Antarctica as the polar regions are warming "even faster than the rest of the world."

Bangkok, 18 October 2021 (dpa/МИА) — Climate experts around the world are urgently calling for the creation of new protected marine areas around Antarctica as the polar regions are warming “even faster than the rest of the world.”

The next two weeks could already bring decisive progress in the run-up to the United Nations COP26 climate summit in Glasgow.

The issue is one of the central points of the 40th Conference of the Antarctic Commission CCAMLR, which starts on Monday in Hobart, Australia.

“The area covers almost 4 million square kilometers and thus 1 percent of the world’s oceans, which is roughly the size of the European Union,” said a statement by the German Environmental Aid (DUH) and other climate protection organizations.

This would be the largest marine protection measure in history and “a central lever in the fight against the global climate crisis.”

Germany has a special role to play in the negotiations, according to DUH. The German government submitted a proposal for the protection of the Antarctic’s Weddell Sea years ago. However, the project has always been blocked by China and Russia.

“The Southern Ocean plays a crucial role in modulating global climate – and the polar regions are experiencing the most pronounced impacts of climate change,” said a letter from a group of leading scientists to the CCAMLR.

“Without immediate and significant emissions reductions, the Earth will soon reach tipping points,” the scientists warned.

DUH Managing Director Sascha Mueller-Kraenner said the German government must do everything in its power to ensure the protection around Antarctica. This is an “unique opportunity for marine protection.”

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