14 Items

Jökulsárlón, Iceland

UnSplash/Roxanne Desgagnés

Together Toward a Sustainable Arctic

| Spring 2021

The Arctic Initiative at Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer Center and the Polar Institute at the Woodrow Wilson Center hosted Iceland's Minister of Foreign Affairs, Gudlaugur Thór Thórdarson, for an engaging Earth Day dialogue on sustainability.  

As the Arctic continues to transform due to a changing climate, Minister Thórdarson discussed the critical role the Arctic Council will continue to play in promoting collaboration on the issues of sustainable development and environmental protection across the Arctic and beyond. The collaboration is also essential to global security. 

Press Release

A Global Symposium on Plastics in the Arctic

| Feb. 26, 2021

In 2019, the Belfer Center’s Arctic Initiative and the Wilson Center’s Polar Institute co-hosted a workshop with the Icelandic Chairmanship of the Arctic Council at Harvard Kennedy School entitled, Policy and Action on Plastic in the Arctic Ocean. This early-convening played a key role in fostering a policy discussion around tackling the problem of plastics in the Arctic Ocean. 

Now in 2021 the first global conference focused on plastic pollution in the Arctic Ocean, the International Symposium on Plastics in the Arctic and the Sub-Arctic Region,  will be hosted virtually in early March. Findings from the 2019 event will be featured as a keynote in the Symposium on Plastics in the Arctic and as part of the final panel on March 9, which is focused on the topic of “Ways Forward”. 

A satellite view of Little Diomede Island, Alaska, in the middle of the Bering Strait. 

CNES/Airbus via Google Earth, used with permission

Paper - Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School

Addressing Dramatic Changes in the Bering Strait Region Requires Governance Adaptations

| Nov. 12, 2020

The Arctic of today does not resemble the Arctic of fifty years ago, and the Arctic of 2070 will be different still, based on everything we know now. Warmer temperatures on land and in the ocean, retreating sea ice and glaciers, thawing permafrost, rapidly changing ecosystems, range expansion of novel species and stress in native species, changing ocean chemistry, and altered seasons all contribute to significant alteration of a region in an extremely compressed timescale. At the same time, globalization and the increasing international interest in the region add new pressures for access, development and geopolitical positioning in the Arctic. Concerns about the implications and impacts of that intensified engagement generate even more anxiety about the transformation to a brand-new Arctic in the 21st Century.

Ship engineer Wim Giabeler, right, and deckhand Gerard Bakulikira, left, wear Romware COVID Radius digital bracelets as they work on deck of a tugboat in the Port of Antwerp, Belgium. The Romware ONE bracelet will allow employees to resume work safely as the bracelet monitors physical distance and traces contacts.

(AP Photo/Virginia Mayo)

Analysis & Opinions

COVID’s Broader Impacts: Risks and Recommendations

While the world’s health and economy are the clearest victims of COVID-19, the pandemic has impacted nearly every aspect of society – from national security to international relationships. We asked several of our experts to share their thoughts on risks and/or recommendations that policymakers and the public should consider in the coming weeks and months.

Report

Policy and Action on Plastic in the Arctic Ocean: October 2019 Workshop Summary & Recommendations

| April 2020

The Belfer Center’s Arctic Initiative and the Wilson Center’s Polar Institute co-hosted a workshop with the Icelandic Chairmanship of the Arctic Council at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government entitled, Policy and Action on Plastic in the Arctic Ocean. The event convened global thought leaders, diverse stakeholders, and subject matter experts to begin developing a framework for tackling Arctic marine plastic pollution as one of the focus areas for the Icelandic Chairmanship. 

- Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School

Spotlight: Fran Ulmer

| Fall/Winter 2019-2020

Fran Ulmer is a Senior Fellow with the Belfer Center’s Arctic Initiative. She also is Chair of the U.S. Arctic Research Commission and Global Board Chair of The Nature Conservancy. She has served in Alaska as Mayor of Juneau, State Representative, and Lieutenant Governor– the first woman elected to statewide office in the state. She also was Chancellor of the University of Alaska.

dead common murres lie washed up on a rocky beach

AP/Mark Thiessen, File

Journal Article - Science Advances

The Polar Regions in a 2°C Warmer World

    Authors:
  • Eric Post
  • Richard B. Alley
  • Torben R. Christiansen
  • Marc Macias-Fauria
  • Bruce C. Forbes
  • Michael N. Gooseff
  • Amy Iler
  • Jeffrey T. Kerby
  • Kristin L. Laidre
  • Michael E. Mann
  • Johan Olofsson
  • Julienne C. Stroeve
  • Ross A. Virginia
  • Muyin Wang
| Dec. 04, 2019

Over the past decade, the Arctic has warmed by 0.75°C, far outpacing the global average, while Antarctic temperatures have remained comparatively stable. As Earth approaches 2°C warming, the Arctic and Antarctic may reach 4°C and 2°C mean annual warming, and 7°C and 3°C winter warming, respectively. Expected consequences of increased Arctic warming include ongoing loss of land and sea ice, threats to wildlife and traditional human livelihoods, increased methane emissions, and extreme weather at lower latitudes.