Washington, D.C. — With the United States set to take over the chairmanship of the Arctic Council in 2015, it is time for the United States to make methane reduction a priority on the council’s agenda. The Arctic is currently warming at a rate that is twice the global average, which has implications for both the region and the globe, and reducing methane emissions is a primary means of Arctic climate protection.
A new issue brief released by the Center for American Progress makes the case that the United States should use its important leadership role on the Arctic Council to lead the effort to reduce methane emissions by forging an agreement among Arctic and observer nations to get serious about this harmful greenhouse gas.
“The United States will take the reins of the Arctic Council at an incredibly important time for climate change advocacy,” said Gwynne Taraska, a Senior Policy Advisor at the Center for American Progress. “The Arctic has seen dramatic climate impacts, such as thawing permafrost and melting sea ice, that endanger the global climate system. The region needs immediate temperature control, and methane reductions are key to slowing near-term warming. Now is the perfect time for the United States to lead the Arctic Council in taking international action to curb methane emissions.”
The Arctic Council is an intergovernmental forum created to address concerns to Arctic nations and the region’s indigenous peoples. Although its official makeup consists of the United States, Canada, Finland, Iceland, Russia, Norway, Denmark, and Sweden, there are many observer nations, including major players in Europe and Asia. These nations collectively account for 42 percent of global methane emissions. As such, an agreement to reduce methane emissions would have wide-ranging effects across the globe and would provide the United States with a global leadership role on one of the frontline issues for climate change.
Click here to read the report.
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