Rising sea levels, contributed to by Arctic ice melting, could risk 1.5 million UK properties flooding, with growing evidence suggesting that changes in the Arctic could make weather events in the UK more extreme, a House of Commons committee said in a report on 13 October.
The Environmental Audit Committee (EAC) cites research showing that the Arctic is warming four times faster than the rest of the globe. The committee calls upon the Government to move the Arctic up the political agenda, be more ambitious in reducing domestic emissions, and lead efforts to champion Arctic science globally.
The committee criticised the lack of coordination between universities and within Government. EAC was alarmed by the fact that the four Ministers from different Government departments with joint responsibility for the region are yet to meet to discuss Arctic matters. Thus, the committee believes it is necessary to appoint an Envoy to the Arctic to bring together Arctic policy matters across the Government.
The fact the ministers are yet to meet indicates a lack of enthusiasm on Arctic matters at the heart of the Government: they must meet quarterly given the drastic changes we are witnessing in our changing Arctic, Chairman of the Environmental Audit Sub-Committee on Polar Research said.
Moreover, EAC calls for a better focus on Arctic issues in Whitehall: from examining the under-researched polar winter to having a stronger operational presence in the Arctic throughout the year. The committee believes that the RRS Sir David Attenborough, an ice-strengthened polar research ship, should voyage to the North Pole to demonstrate the UK’s commitment to its responsibilities in the Arctic.
Besides, EAC calls for a funding boost for research. According to the committee, strategic, long-term funding should be secured to support scientific monitoring over periods of at least 10 years, and a dedicated institute should coordinate Arctic research undertaken by UK universities.
The committee also emphasises the importance of international cooperation in addressing common challenges.
Source: UK Parliament