Eu Arctic Policy: Climate Change, Science and Safeguarding the Arctic Enviorment

Organized by ICE-ARC 13. September 2017

In their policy for the Arctic, the European Commission and High Representative declare that the European Union has a duty to protect the Arctic environment, strengthen ecosystem resilience, and promote sustainable development. This statement puts an obligation on the EU to work in partnership with Arctic countries and to recognise the livelihoods, needs, interests, and rights of the indigenous peoples and local communities within it. Furthermore, EU funded science has a central role to play in understanding Arctic change and safeguarding the Arctic environment.

Friday, October 13, 16:15 - 17:45
Location: Akrafjall, Fourth Level


We can utilize science diplomacy to smooth a particularly tricky political situation, and importantly scientific knowledge can provide a conduit to ensure local communities, politicians and policy-makers, as well as industry leaders and the public, have the most up-to-date and robust information available. Easy access of this type of knowledge is exactly what is needed for effective decision making on sustainable development.
Within this session experts will provide a short overview of three climate change induced challenges for the Arctic environment:

  1. Thawing permafrost and the risk of depleting habitats and damaged infrastructure;
  2. The melting of the Greenlandic ice sheet and a rising sea level;
  3. The emissions of short-lived climate pollutants (such as black carbon and methane) and their contribution to an accelerated climate change.

Additionally, we will hear from experts their views on the responsibility of the space agencies to address these challenges, as well as the importance of the co-production of knowledge with local communities to ensure sustainable development within the Arctic and beyond.
These six experts will give brief introductions to these topics and subsequently open the floor for an interactive discussion focused around the following question:
How can the complex scientific issues associated with Arctic change, with all its implications, be summarised to better inform policy makers and facilitate sustainable development of the Arctic.


  • Lene Kielsen Holm, Greenland Climate Research Centre, Greenland. Scientist and project leader: Sustainability and environmental pressures on Arctic communities
  • Hanne Christiansen, The University Centre in Svalbard, Norway, President, International Permafrost Association: Permafrost expert: Thawing permafrost and its impact on Arctic landscapes and infrastructures
  • Jonathan Bamber, University of Bristol, UK, President, European Geosciences Union: Ice sheet expert: The melting of the Greenlandic ice sheet and its contribution to global sea level rise
  • Daniela Domeisen, GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel, Germany: Improved predictions for safeguarding Arctic development
  • Rene Forsberg, Danish Technical University-Space: The role of satellite observations in monitoring the Arctic
  • Kaarle Kupiainen, Finnish Environment Institute, co-chair of the AMAP EG on short-lived climate pollutants: Emissions and mitigation options for short-lived climate pollutants


  • Jeremy Wilkinson, British Antarctic Survey, Coordinator of EU project ICE-ARC.