As scientists warn that climate change is driving the Arctic into a dangerous and unprecedented state, Arctic leaders head to Sweden this week to hash out how to govern and protect the rapidly warming region.
At the ministerial meeting of the Arctic Council on Wednesday in Kiruna, Sweden, leaders will be grappling with everything from whether to accept applications from countries like China to how to improve Arctic infrastructure.
The Arctic member states plan to sign an oil spill response agreement — the second-ever legally binding pact negotiated under the auspices of the council, and an acknowledgement of growing business interests in newly open Arctic waters.
Arctic Council members also plan to release the first circumpolar inventory on biodiversity in the Arctic and a comprehensive analysis of Arctic Ocean acidification — which analysts say is a growing problem and focus of research.
“The Arctic Ocean is particularly sensitive to acidification,” Gustaf Lind, Swedish chairman of the Arctic Council’s senior Arctic officials, said at a press briefing. “Carbon dioxide is more readily absorbed into cold water.”
His remarks followed an Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Programme report this month finding, among other things, that the Arctic Ocean is less effective at chemically neutralizing carbon dioxide’s acidifying effects. At the council meeting, experts will also continue a dialogue on how to reduce short-lived climate pollutants such as black carbon, Lind said.
E&E News, 13 May 2013. Full article.