Climate scientists are planning to request political representation in the form of an “Arctic Ambassador” so they can remind other members of the council that the melting Arctic is not just a free for all resource opportunity.
A Bold Request As Climate Change Ravages The Arctic
Dec 23, 2020,09:47am EST
According to the 2020 Arctic Report Card released by NOAA in December, things are pretty bad. The report, an annual compilation of peer-reviewed science (not Twitter or editorial opinions), is produced by over 120 scientists from 15 countries. Key highlights (or “lowlights”) included:
- The average annual land surface air temperature in the Arctic was the second-warmest since the beginning of the record-keeping era in began in 1900.
- 90% of the past 10 years had air temperatures at least 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit greater the 1981-2010 mean.
- Record low June snow extent across the Eurasian Arctic.
- The second-lowest Arctic minimum sea ice extent in the satellite era.
- Warnings about extreme wildfires in the Arctic.
An open letter is being drafted by scientists calling for an Arctic Ambassador with a climate background to be appointed to the Arctic Council. Dr. Twila Moon is a climate expert in the National Snow and Ice Data Center at the University of Colorado. In an email submitted to a listserve called Cryolist, she said, “We believe this will raise the profile of Arctic research within the global climate change conversation, and generally increase U.S. engagement on international Arctic climate issues.” According to Moon, the United States has not had senior level representation on the Council since Admiral Robert J. Papp departed at the end of Obama Administration at the end of the Obama Administration.
Moon also said, “Appointing an Arctic Ambassador to the Arctic Council will counter a dangerous narrative that the Arctic is merely a region of future battles over resources in a world that has lost the battle against runaway global warming.” While she acknowledged critics might be concerned about a political appointment that could lead to a bad apple or have challenges of maintaining longevity along with rank, she doesn’t think that it is a showstopper. She also believes the May 2021 Arctic Council Ministerial is an early opportunity for the U.S. to signal both a renewed climate commitment, and reengagement with Arctic partners. According to a Tweet by Moon, 193 U.S.-based scientists have already signed the letter.
The Arctic Council was set up so the representatives of large groups of people can settle their differences through dialog rather than military action.
There does not appear to be much genuine support for climate action on the Arctic Council. For example Russia’s President Vladimir Putin seems to think western fears of global warming are a joke, except maybe when it suits him to look like he cares. Many of Russia’s scientists think the world is not experiencing dangerous global warming. Having said that, Russia might vote to add a climate ambassador, for the entertainment value of watching climate woke members of the council squirm.