The overarching question imparting urgency to this exploration is: Can U.S.-Russian contention in cyberspace cause the two nuclear superpowers to stumble into war? In considering this question we were constantly reminded of recent comments by a prominent U.S. arms control expert: At least as dangerous as the risk of an actual cyberattack, he observed, is cyber operations’ “blurring of the line between peace and war.” Or, as Nye wrote, “in the cyber realm, the difference between a weapon and a non-weapon may come down to a single line of code, or simply the intent of a computer program’s user.”
Speakers: Susan M. Natali, Director, Arctic Program, Woodwell Climate Research Center
John P. Holdren, Teresa and John Heinz Professor of Environmental Policy, HKS
Fran Ulmer, Senior Fellow, Arctic Initiative
Joel Clement, Senior Fellow, Arctic Initiative
Darcy L. Peter, Research Assistant, Woodwell Climate Research Center
Moderator: Heather Goldstone, Chief Communications Officer, Woodwell Climate Research Center
Arctic temperatures are increasing three times faster than the global average. The impacts of this rapid warming are many, not only locally but globally. They extend from threats to wildlife, indigenous cultures, and economic and energy infrastructure, to alteration of Northern Hemisphere weather patterns, acceleration of global sea-level rise, and Arctic carbon emissions that threaten the chances of meeting global climate-stabilization targets. This session focuses on a warming-driven phenomenon—the rapid thawing of Arctic permafrost—that is contributing simultaneously to the most vexing of Arctic warming's impacts both in the region and around the world. This session will target experts and non-experts who are interested in understanding the science and policy issues at the heart of this widely underestimated facet of the global climate-change challenge.
The 90-minute session is organized jointly by the independent, nonprofit Woodwell Climate Research Center (formerly known as Woods Hole Research Center) and the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government. (The two centers have been partners in a foundation-funded initiative on the science and policy of thawing permafrost.) The session will spend 45 minutes on a moderator's introduction and four brief presentations by experts from the two centers, followed by 45 minutes of discussion with the audience, in which the panelists and moderator will be joined by an additional expert from each center. The presentations will cover the science of permafrost thaw, its local and regional impacts, its global impacts, and the relevant policy issues and actors from local to global.