EarthSky to report in April on findings of Commission on Arctic Climate Change

In March 2011, the Commission on Arctic Climate Change released its final report titled The Shared Future. EarthSky attended the meeting in Washington D.C. where the report was released, and we were able to capture audio interviews with four members of the commission. These EarthSky interviews – which will be released as both 90-second and 8-minute podcasts, about one a week over the coming month – provide a very interesting and informed perspective on a problem that has not confronted humankind in the past. Here’s a sneak peak of the first interview – with David Monsma of the Aspen Institute – which will be released tomorrow.

What is the problem the commission aimed to address? It is that – because climate is warming – Arctic ice is melting. The Arctic is changing, and fast. Is it up to us to solve the problems that will result from sea ice melting in the Arctic – the impact on wildlife, for example? Many believe human stewardship will be needed to help some animal species survive. What about governance in this part of the world, as polar ice continues to melt and shipping lanes open in the Arctic summer? These are the sorts of issues addressed by the Commission on Arctic Climate Change.

By the way, if you are not up to date on changes in the Arctic, this video released by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration sums up NOAA’s Arctic Report Card for 2010.

The Commission on Arctic Climate Change – which was a project of the Aspen Institute and Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation – brought together leaders of science, environmental stewardship and industry. The feeling is that these groups will need to come together to solve big, long-lasting changes in the Arctic. EarthSky interviews include:

  • David Monsma, executive director of the Energy and Environment Program for the Aspen Institute. This institute and the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation spearheaded the Commission on Arctic Climate Change.
  • Robert Blaauw of Shell on oil exploration and development in the Arctic.
  • Sven Lindblad is a well-known environmental advocate. He is president and founder of Lindblad Expeditions.
  • Dr. Sylvia Earle is Explorer-in-Residence at National Geographic. She is a former Chief Scientist for NOAA and a passionate advocate for ocean life.

I hope you’ll watch for and listen to one or more EarthSky interviews with members of the Commission on Arctic Climate Change. With global warming low on the list of concerns of Americans – even as the past decade was the warmest on record according to scientists in 48 countries – maybe the time to listen has arrived.

Water issues worry Americans most, global warming least, says new Gallup poll

U.S. naval forces should prepare for effects of climate change in Arctic, says NRC report

Claire Parkinson on disappearing sea ice and its impacts

April 3, 2011

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Deborah Byrd

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