Half a metre does not sound like a lot. But imagine sitting in a full bathtub and adding half a metre of water.
That is the scenario the world will be facing by the end of this century: Polar ice caps are melting. Ocean levels are projected to rise by more than half a metre. The homes of hundreds of millions of people would then sink below sea level.
This shows: our future is linked to the future of the Arctic. Therefore, the German Government adopted its first Arctic Policy Guidelines in 2019. They commit all relevant actors to working together to protect that sensitive region. And they commit us to cooperation with our international partners – based on clear rules and strong institutions.
That is why we value and support the work of the Arctic Council. It allows us to join hands with all of you, to work for the future of the Arctic – and for the future for mankind.
In 2019, Professor Markus Rex, the head of the MOSAiC mission, joined me on a trip to the Canadian Arctic. He told me about his expedition, collecting vital data while drifting through the Arctic sea ice.
To me, this is not just a scientific breakthrough. It is a prime example of how to solve global problems, not least in the Arctic: through cooperation.
While the Polarstern has returned to its German harbour, it is now on us, governments and politicians, to follow its example: By working together – to protect the Arctic and save our planet.