A Global SOS
That Can No Longer Be Ignored
The Central Arctic Ocean Ice Shield Moratorium
“If we lose the Arctic, we lose the world.”
That was the sober assessment of Finland’s President, Sauli Niinistö, in May 2017.
The looming catastrophic impacts of Arctic sea ice loss is the Global SOS of our time. It underscores the need for deep emission cuts, widespread carbon drawdown initiatives and decarbonization of economies being pursued immediately and simultaneously.
If the Arctic sea ice loss is not addressed, global warming will rapidly dismantle this global climate stabilizer and indispensable planetary cooling system. According to the 2021 IPCC Report, science signals that limiting global temperatures rise to 1.5°C rather than 2°C can stall out and slow sea ice decline. In turn, allowing summer sea ice to restore and multi-year ice to rebuild, thereby slowing winter sea ice melt. But we must take urgent action now.
While climate action is on the uptick, leaders have largely overlooked the widespread global impacts of the Polar Ice Crisis.
We need to pause and apply a precautionary approach to better evaluate potentially harmful activity. Driven by science and applying the Precautionary Principle, Global Choices is calling for the immediate protection of the Central Arctic Ocean (CAO) Ice Shield and its long-term management as a non-jurisdictional Global Commons.
We need a 10-year Moratorium to protect the Central Arctic Ocean Ice Shield from any activity that would further disturb the fragile Arctic sea ice and accelerate melting.
The Moratorium will prohibit oil and gas exploration and extraction, deep seabed mining, seismic testing, nuclear-weapon testing, radioactive waste dumping and new shipping lanes. As the ice melts these activities are increasingly accessible, and if allowed to proceed, they will accelerate and intensify a cascade of climate feedback loops that will become unstoppable.
We have established an international Arctic Task Force of scientists, policy and legal experts to explore legal implications of the Moratorium, and guide governance modeling for the CAO Global Commons. Our fledgling Arctic Legal Defense Fund will be the spearpoint for Task Force attorneys to navigate the Moratorium’s legal pathway to success.
No amount of protection currently will save the Central Arctic Ocean Ice. To salvage what we can it is imperative to keep to 1.5 degrees Celsius.
Read more below in each section.