Other activities

In addition to the three reports that are stipulated in ACIA's mandate, there were some additional tangible outcomes from the process. One was a scientific conference to present the ACIA results, which was intended to be the week prior to the ministerial meeting, but ended up being two weeks before due to a late rescheduling of the ministerial meeting. Modeled on previous AMAP conferences, the conference gave lead authors a venue to present their picture of ACIA's results in a different form than a report and also provided opportunities for discussion. The second and third day of the conference featured more detailed presentations on various topics, and the last day was devoted to panel discussions about the future. The purpose was to focus on the science and there was a great deal of discussion of how the ACIA fit into future plans for Arctic research such as the International Polar Year in 2007/08. At a stakeholder panel, political issues also came to the fore, with clear calls to the political community to take the ACIA results seriously and use them as a basis for climate policy. At the time of the conference, it was not yet clear whether the Arctic Council would approve the policy document. Although the ACIA conference was dominated by scientists, there was also a visible presence by indigenous peoples, and it included presentations by indigenous experts. Many speakers also alluded to the unique meeting between science and indigenous traditional knowledge that the ACIA represented.226 In a speech at the conference, the chair of the Inuit Circumpolar Conference publically criticized the way in which the policy process was handled, including how she had been reprimanded by the US State Department for statements about its role in trying to obstruct the policy outcome of the ACIA process.227

Coordinated with the scientific conference, the scientific journal Ambio released a special issue on climate change and UV-B impacts of the Arctic tundra and polar desert ecosystems, based on material from the scientific report.228 As mentioned in section 5.2 of this chapter, the final scientific report was not available at the time of the official release of the ACIA results at the scientific conference.

The overview document was released the day before the scientific conference in conjunction with press conferences in several Arctic countries. In the United States, the press activities were coordinated by a professional media organization, Resource Media, and financed by a private foundation. The home institution of the ACIA vice chair, Center for International Climate and Environmental Research in Oslo, provided some international coordination for press activities, including the production of fact sheets.229 Indigenous peoples' organizations also put out their own press releases. This study does not include any systematic analysis of the press coverage of the ACIA but the coverage

226Arctic Climate Impact Assessment (ACIA), The ACIA International Scientific Symposium on Climate Change in the Arctic. Extended Abstracts. Reykjavik November 9-12. 2004 (Oslo: Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Programme, 2004).; Observation notes November 9-12, 2004; Sound recordings of opening statement, science panel, and stakeholder panel.

227 Remarks given by Ms. Shiela Watt-Cloutier, Chair of the Inuit Circumpolar Conference at the Arctic Climate Impact Assessment (ACIA) Conference, Reykjavik, Iceland, Novmeber 12, 2004.

228 Callaghan Terry, V., ed., "Climate Change and UV-B Impacts on Arctic Tundra and Polar Desert Ecosystems," Ambio XXXIII, no. 7 (2004).

229 Tjernhaugen and Bang, ACIA og IPCC. En sammenligning av mottakelsen i amerikansk offentlighet.

appears to have been quite significant judging from comments made by the ACIA authors in informal conversations during the conference. A study of the media coverage in the United States shows that the ACIA made major TV network news and was mentioned 72 times in major US newspapers between September 2004 and February 2005. Tjernhaugen and Bang find that the coverage was slightly less than the third IPCC assessment but calls this considerable because of the smaller scope of the Artic assessment compared to the IPCC. Moreover, the media coverage was less focused on scientific controversies.230 A search in a media database that covers Sweden and Norway reveals 21 mentions of "Arctic Climate Impact Assessment" during the same period.231

In addition to the overview, another popular science document was released from the ACIA process, called Impacts of a Warming Arctic: Highlights232 As the title suggests, this document further condensed some of the information in the overview and presented it in a way intended to reach readers who may not read the entire overview. It is distributed free of charge. The cover looks very similar to ACIA's overview documents and ACIA's logo is prominently featured. It is written by the same science writer consultant who wrote the overview.233 At the conference, this document generated a highly contentious discussion among lead authors during a behind scenes-closed door meeting with ACIA's chair. The lead authors claimed they had not had any opportunities to review this document or have input into how the highlights were selected. Some strong words were exchanged about the lack of due process for its production.234 According to ACIA's chair, the funding for producing the document had come in at a very late stage and that there had simply not been enough time for consultations and review by the full Assessment Steering Committee. Moreover, in his view, the document's content was based on the reviewed overview document. He explained that part of the controversy stemmed from the communications committee having a different view of what was important than the scientists.235 The report and the controversy that it raised illustrate three things. First is the tense atmosphere created by a policy process, including expectations that the science in the ACIA would be challenged. The second is a clash of priorities between reaching out to a large audience, which ACIA's chair saw as vitally important, and the role of the lead authors as a guarantee for ACIA's scientific integrity and credibility. The third point is how limiting insight over the process to a small group affected its credibility.

A third tangible outcome was a short video. There had been discussion in the Assessment Steering Committee to produce a film.236 In the end, however, the video became a product of a Norwegian national effort to bring the results of the ACIA to a

230 Tjernhaugen and Bang, ACIA ogIPCC. En sammenligning av mottakelsen i amerikansk offentlighet.

231 Search in Mediearkivet , covering 50 Swedish and Norwegian newspapers, magazines and wire services. In addition, a more general research was conducted using Arktis and klimat as search terms. This gave 65 hits in 2004, compared to 20 hits in 2003, 8 in 2002, and 11 in 2005.

232 Available via http://www.amap.no/acia/index.html (Accessed: Oct. 12, 2005).

233 Impact of a Warming Arctic. Highlights, 17.

234 Interviews 50 and 60.

235 Interview ACIA's chair Robert Corell, November 21, 2004.

236 Summary Report on the Tenth Assessment Steering Committee (ASC) Meeting, 15-16 October, London, U.K. and Observation notes London October 16, 2003.

wider audience.237 At the political level, communicating the ACIA results became one of the points on which the Senior Arctic Officials could not agree.238 In this case one can understand the Norwegian effort as a means to circumvent the lack of agreement and simply use the ACIA as a basis for national-sponsored activities that were not dependent on political consensus and ACIA's own financing.

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