Center for American Progress

RELEASE: Arctic Ministerial First of Many Opportunities to Prevent Irreparable Effects of Climate Change on the Arctic This Year
Press Release

RELEASE: Arctic Ministerial First of Many Opportunities to Prevent Irreparable Effects of Climate Change on the Arctic This Year

Washington, D.C. — As the Obama administration prepares to convene a historic meeting of climate ministers from around the world later this month, the Center for American Progress has released a report calling for world leaders to use all upcoming meetings this fall to agree to critical but feasible steps to prevent climate change in one of the globe’s most vulnerable places: the Arctic.

The Arctic is warming twice as fast as the rest of the planet. With this warming comes a cascade of climate and environmental changes, including reduction in snow and ice, thawing permafrost, and the melting of the Greenland ice sheet. Continued warming could reach a tipping point at which irreversible sea-level rise and coastal flooding threaten the existence vulnerable coastal and island nations.

However, as the paper says, there is still time to curb the most dangerous effects of climate change. In the report, CAP makes technologically and economically feasible recommendations that the world community should implement now to transition to a low-carbon economy before the window to avert climate change disasters closes permanently.

“The window for global response to climate change is still there, but it is closing,” said Cathleen Kelly, CAP Senior Fellow and author of the report. “The Arctic is likely to be the stage where some of the first irreparable effects of man-made climate change are set. Building off of the historic Paris Agreement, world leaders should use the upcoming Arctic ministerial meeting and other such opportunities to forge critical agreements to tackle what the World Economic Forum has called our top global risk.”

Among the recommendations made in the report are:

  • Shining a stark light on the latest Arctic science at the White House Arctic Ministerial in September
  • Joining and building on the Paris Agreement so that the agreement can take effect this year and a transparent system of accountability can be put in place to ensure that countries meet and periodically strengthen their climate commitments
  • Advancing other global actions to curb climate change, including phasing down dangerous and heat-trapping hydroflourocarbons, creating a strong market-based system to curb aviation emissions, and setting ambitious goals to cut black carbon and methane

Click here to read the report.

For more information on this topic or to speak with an expert, contact Tom Caiazza at or 202.481.7141.