Washington, D.C. — The Arctic is feeling the effects of climate change at double the rate of the rest of the world. Higher temperatures, shrinking sea ice, rising sea levels, more damaging storm surges, wildfires, and thawing permafrost are imperiling local communities and are harbingers of the coming catastrophes linked to a changing climate.
When U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry convenes a conference on the Arctic in Anchorage, Alaska, next week, seeking strong commitments from Arctic nations to cut black carbon and methane pollution—which are accelerating Arctic and global warming—should be high on his list of priorities, says a column from the Center for American Progress released today. Secretary Kerry—who became the Arctic Council chairman in April—is hosting the Conference on Global Leadership in the Arctic: Cooperation, Innovation, Engagement and Resilience, or GLACIER, in Anchorage, from August 30 to 31. President Barack Obama will attend the event, which will also feature foreign ministers from Arctic nations and other countries, climate scientists, and other experts in a discussion on the consequences of Arctic warming for the region and the planet.
“Rapid Arctic warming is putting people and wildlife at risk—not only in the region but across the planet,” said Cathleen Kelly, CAP Senior Fellow and author of the column. “Rising temperatures are melting glaciers and Greenland’s massive ice sheet, accelerating sea level rise and increasing flood risks for the 40 percent of the world’s population that lives near a coast. The time to reverse these alarming trends is now. At the GLACIER conference, Secretary Kerry and other world leaders have a chance to safeguard the Arctic from the worst effects of global warming by committing to slashing black carbon and methane pollutants and to locking in a strong global climate deal in Paris later this year.”
CAP’s column argues that GLACIER must be a springboard for a successful outcome at the climate negotiations in Paris at the end of 2015 and that any joint declaration from world leaders at the conference should include:
- A pact to lock in a strong global climate agreement at the U.N. climate talks in Paris this December
- A pledge to immediately cut black carbon and methane pollution to curb Arctic and global warming
Click here to read the column.
For more information on this topic or to speak with an expert, contact Tom Caiazza at email@example.com or 202.481.7141.