The September 2012 sea ice minimum in the Arctic highlighted once again that the effects of climate change are especially dramatic in the Arctic. In a joint statement prepared for the COP 18 climate conference in Doha, the Arctic States call for international emission cuts, particularly regarding Short Lived Climate Forcers (SLCF), in order to slow Arctic warming. In addition the Arctic Council and the Swedish Chairmanship will also host a side-event on Arctic climate change 6 December during the conference.
Statement on Arctic warming
The 18th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 18) of the UN Framework Convention for Climate Change in Doha, Qatar began 26 November and continues until 7 December.
The Arctic States use the 2012 sea ice extent minimum as a starting point for their joint statement. They note that Arctic inhabitants have observed rapid reductions in snow and ice cover and duration over the past decades. The dramatically accelerated ice loss and changes in snow and ice-conditions are confirmed by satellite observations and scientific studies. This warming has cascading effects on biodiversity, ecosystems and human living conditions in the Arctic and around the world. Arctic climate change is therefore of major global concern.
Arctic States call urgently upon the international community to limit the global temperature rise to below 2 degrees Celsius by cutting emissions of long lived greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide, but also prioritizing Short Lived Climate Forcers (SLCF). SLCF include black carbon, or soot, which is produced when wood or fossil fuels are burned. The Arctic Council will continue to spearhead efforts to address short lived climate forcers. Read the full statement here.
Side-event on global effects of Arctic climate change
The side-event Arctic climate change – rapid change and global consequences will be held in room Lefkosia, Hall 3 of the EU Pavilion at the Qatar National Convention Centre in Doha. The event will offer a wide range of perspectives and broaden the dialog on Arctic climate change and its global effects as Arctic Environment Ministers meet with scientists and NGOs to discuss pressing questions on the subject.
Several ministers from the Arctic Council member states will participate in the side-event: the Swedish minister of the Environment, Lena Ek, who will begin the event with an introductory speech/introductory remarks on the current situation in the Arctic; Jens B Frederiksen, Greenland´s minister of Housing, Infrastructure and Transport; Martin Lidegaard, Danish Minister of Climate, Energy and Building; and Peter Kent, Canada's Minister of the Environment.
Also, Lars-Otto Reiersen, executive secretary of the Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Programme (AMAP); Samantha Smith, the leader of the WWF global climate and energy initiative, and Leehi Yona, youth delegate, will all be participating in the discussion moderated by Anders Turesson. Read the full event invitation here.