Arctic Yearbook 2015 - Page 86

Arctic Council Environmental Initiatives: Can the United States Promote Implementation? Erica Dingman When the United States assumed the Arctic Council chairmanship in 2015 they came with the intent to promote full implementation in all Arctic states of the Black Carbon and Methane Task Force recommendations. Reduction of these short-lived climate forcers (SLCFs) would have multiple benefits for environmental and human health, and reduce emissions that are a cause of global warming. Yet, with a history of pollutants migrating to the Arctic from elsewhere, and inherent limitations at the Arctic Council, is to suggest that a paradigm shift is in order. Thus, to the extent that the U.S. has the capacity to exert influence, implementation of emission reductions must start at home and likely requires robust engagement of outside actors. This article will address how the U.S. is demonstrating an intent to tackle SLCFs, specifically black carbon, through policy and regulation; the role of renewable energy sources in Alaska; and why an engaged private sector is critical. To engender change will require a multi-level cross-sector approach. “A degenerative disease will not be cured by procrastination. It requires decisive action.” - Peter F. Drucker, The Theory of the Business, Harvard Business Review Introduction When the United States assumed the Arctic Council chairmanship on April 24 2015, Secretary of State John Kerry remarked at the Legislative Assembly of Nunavut in Iqaluit, Canada that “One of the biggest challenges everybody has talked about today is climate change. The numbers are alarming, and that’s putting it mildly” (Kerry 2015). Toting a self-acknowledged ‘ambitious agenda’ the U.S. will address the impacts of climate change, which includes promoting full implementation in all Arctic states of the Task Force on Short-lived Climate Forcers and Task Force on Black Carbon and Methane (2013) Erica M. Dingman is Senior Fellow and Director of Arctic in Context at the World Policy Center.