Key Nations Gather in Washington for Historic Polar Summit

Read the U.S. News & World Report article: "Plight of Penguins and Polar Bears."

On Monday, April 6, ministers from nations representing the Arctic and Antarctic regions gathered at the State Department in Washington for high-level talks on climate change and other issues that are affecting the two Poles. The summit marked the first time that Arctic Council nations and Antarctic Treaty members have ever gathered to meet as one body.

World Wildlife Fund officials who manage the organization’s Arctic and Antarctic programs participated in the summit as official observers.

The summit comes at a critical time for the Polar Regions, as they show signs of significant impacts from climate change that could have serious implications for the rest of the planet. The meeting coincided with an update on Arctic sea ice conditions by NASA and the National Snow and Ice Data Center. Arctic sea ice has melted to record low levels in recent summers and NASA and NSIDC have said that sea ice cover in the Arctic in the winter months has been lower in the past six years than at any other time in 30 years of satellite tracking.