What is it about?

The Arctic ice is melting fast, posing the threat of catastrophic climate consequences. Authors of a 2020 article argue that conventional climate change policies involving emission reduction targets are long term goals that are insufficient to save the Arctic. Even if net zero emissions are achieved overnight, which is an obvious impossibility, inertia will cause the Arctic ice to continue to melt at the current rate for several years to come. What is needed, thus, are novel stopgap interventions to maintain Arctic ice levels until the climate begins to respond to long term measures such as emission reductions. To this end, researchers have considered unconventional technologies like those to refreeze ice or buttress glaciers. Although these technologies seem akin to geo-engineering (such as spraying the atmosphere with aerosols), which is controversial due to the high risk involved, they are considerably less risky and closer to conventional climate change mitigation strategies. So, these technologies need to be more deeply and comprehensively explored in terms of efficiency, feasibility, scalability, and safety.

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Why is it important?

With current ice melting rates, the Arctic as we know it will soon be gone with consequences such as a catastrophic sea level rise, release of a massive amount of methane, and a great global surface temperature increase. These will lead to a meteoric increase in extreme weather events. Measures to halt Arctic ice melting are urgently required, but conventional climate change mitigation measures are too slow to save the Arctic. KEY TAKEAWAY: The Arctic ice melting crisis is of immense immediate importance and requires more than just policy changes. Focused research on unconventional technological solutions to stop the melting is urgently needed.

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Arctic Climate Interventions, The International Journal of Marine and Coastal Law, August 2020, Brill,
DOI: 10.1163/15718085-bja10035.
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