Study: Arctic nations need to curb climate change


Arctic nations, such as Canada, should designate marine protected areas and co-managed reserve networks, foster economic adaptation to global change, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, says a new study.

That’s because Arctic nations have the wealth and scientific understanding to alter the course of global climate change, if they choose to do so, writes F.S. (Terry) Chapin III, of the University of Alaska Fairbanks, in a paper published last week in the journal Ambio.

“Nations that govern Arctic lands account for about 40 per cent of global CO2 emissions and therefore have a substantial capacity to reduce the rates of Arctic change,” says the paper.

The paper offers policy recommendations to manage Arctic conditions.

Arctic nations should:

* designate marine protected areas – an increasingly ice-free Arctic Ocean could be zoned to include marine protected areas, designated shipping lanes, and fishing areas co-managed by local residents and government managers;
* designate co-managed reserve networks to maintain biodiversity, providing nursery stocks for adjacent fished areas, and ensuring against mismanagement or unexpected events outside the reserves;
* foster economic adaptation to global change to encourage economic diversity and entrepreneurship rather than subsidies for traditional sectors adversely affected by Arctic change;
* and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Conditions are now ideal to implement initiatives to manage Arctic change, say the authors.

They say the Arctic Climate Impact Assessment and Arctic Human Development Report has provided enough information to make well-informed decisions.

“We do not need to delay action until some future time when we will ‘know enough’ to act,” Chapin said.

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