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Dartmouth's Dickey Center co-sponsors report calling for environmental security in the Arctic

Dartmouth College Office of Public Affairs • Press Release
Posted 06/25/09 • Media Contact:
Latarsha Gatlin (603) 646-3661

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Arctic
The United States has environmental, political, and security interests and responsibilities in the North and it should play a key role in preserving the Arctic ecosystem, says a report co-sponsored by the Dickey Center for International Understanding, the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and the University of the Arctic.

U.S. policymakers need to act quickly in order to save the Arctic, according to a report released yesterday by Dartmouth's Dickey Center for International Understanding, the Carnegie Endowment and the University of the Arctic.

The report states that the accelerating pace of climate change, increasing competition over resources, and new territorial claims are creating pressures on the region, and offers recommendations for corrective action.

Released at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington, D.C., the report is the culmination of discussions coordinated by the UArctic Institute of Applied Circumpolar Policy at Dartmouth between several dozen international Arctic experts last December. During the three days of meetings at Dartmouth, academic scholars, policy makers, shipping and energy experts, and representatives of indigenous peoples met for round-table discussions on the Arctic.

"The report has been greeted with enthusiasm by a wide range of experts who have worked on issues related to the Arctic," said Barry Scherr, Dartmouth's Provost and a member of the UArctic Board of Governors. "Ken Yalowitz, Director of the Dickey Center, and Ross Virginia, who directs the Institute of Arctic Studies, are to be congratulated for making Dartmouth a major focal point for study of the Arctic region."

David Balton, Deputy Assistant Secretary of the U.S. State Department's Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs, and Julie Gourley, the Senior U.S. Arctic Official, were present for the report's release. The report states that the United States has environmental, political, and security interests and responsibilities in the North and it should play a key role in preserving the Arctic ecosystem. The report makes the following recommendations:

  • Create a sub-cabinet commission on global warming headed by the Vice President to address the effects of climate change on the Arctic.
  • Promote the Arctic Council as the principal international forum for addressing Arctic issues.
  • Ratify the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) immediately.
  • Support policy-relevant scientific research that can identify critical first steps for policy makers and identify the costs of inaction on the threat of global warming.

"Large-scale damage to the Arctic from transportation accidents, energy development, fishing, and pollutants from the south pose greater immediate threats than classic security issues. Existing emergency response systems and contingency plans are not up to the task," the report states.

To read the Arctic Climate Change and Security Report, go to: http://dickey.dartmouth.edu/content/view/181/17/

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Last Updated: 6/26/09