The Crucial Place of Research
In this book we have traveled the white planet, the one formed by the ice, which for the most part is found in the polar regions. We have gone deep within the inland ice sheets, in Antarctica and Greenland, to discover the wealth of the glacial archives. The warning sign we have been given cannot leave us indifferent: in this new era, the Anthropocene, humans mark the environment of their planet with their imprint and above all the climate in which they live. Our message aims to help convince citizens and policymakers of the urgency of the measures that must be taken to respond to the challenge of climate warming and the degradation of our environment because we must act and not simply endure. In immediate terms, the scientists of the International Polar Year have listened to the ice, including the fragile shelves, which has an impact on our near and more distant future. We will first talk about research before describing the rise in pollution, then we will look at the connections between the poles, the planet, and our societies.
We will return to our white planet by discussing a theme that connects them, that of the growing influence of research. We will recall the importance of the contribution of fundamental research, essential to an understanding of the mechanisms that rule our climate, to predict its evolution and to provide a correct evaluation of the uncertainties associated with it. The quality of this fundamental research and the effort led by the scientific community to construct, through the IPCC reports, an easily accessible collective assessment have, moreover, constituted a point of departure for the process undertaken to fight against climate warming.
We would like to point to the multidisciplinary nature of the research concerned with climate change around which mathematicians, physicists, chemists, and geochemists, and specialists in the biosphere and in past climates, come together; when we see the impacts of the warming to come, this