Staying Frosty on Climate Change

Obama and Kerry to Meet with Arctic Leaders at GLACIER Conference on Climate Change

Polar bears on melting ice floes
Polar bears are affected by climate change due to melting sea ice floes.

When it comes to seeing how climate change impacts the Arctic, the United States is at the frontline.  On August 31, President Obama will address the incredibly acronym’d GLACIER (Global Leadership in the Arctic: Cooperation, Innovation, Engagement, and Resilience) Conference in Alaska. Hosted by Secretary of State John Kerry and the U.S. Department of State, this conference will bring together the concerned eight Arctic nations and those, like the UK, interested in preserving the environment, as well as private sector representatives, and intergovernmental bodies to discuss challenges and innovations in the fight against climate change.

 

Why should we care about Polar Bears?

Alaska and the rest of the Arctic is more than just the home of breath-taking vistas and untouched wildlife. It is also the front line where most noticeable damage has been done by climate change so far. Glaciers and permafrost are melting at an alarming rate, not only raising sea levels and threatening coasts but also releasing immense amounts of carbon into the atmosphere. This continuing cycle, along with other continuously worsening problems such as an increase in carbon-releasing forest fires hammer home the fact that progress has to be made and quickly.

 

A light in the (sooty, gassy) dark

Hope is not lost. This conference shows that many countries desire to cooperate, research, and reform. The representatives at GLACIER will call on the world to take action and implement agreed-upon changes such as a reduction in emissions of dangerous black carbon and methane into the atmosphere. Perhaps most importantly, they will provide a powerful voice at the Climate Change Conference in Paris (COP21) this year, which may be the most important gathering of world leaders so far in terms of climate change research and reform.

 

Related materials on the U.S. Embassy London website: