Silence on anthropogenic emissions

The ACIA does not assess anthropogenic emissions of greenhouse gases from the Arctic. According to interview material about the initial framing of what the assessment should be about, emissions were considered a global issue and thus naturally a part of IPCC's global assessments, but there is no explicit discussion of this topic in the formal documentation.87 The overview document also places emission assessments and mitigation with the global arena. It states that "mitigation, to slow the speed and amount of climate change by reducing greenhouse gas emissions," is not evaluated as part of the report because it is addressed by the UNFCCC and other bodies.88 In view of the fact that impacts on hydrocarbon resource exploitation are not analyzed much either, one could also speculate that there was a wish to stay away from politically sensitive issues with high national interests at stake for several Arctic countries.

In the scientific report, there is also a general "black-boxing" of the emission scenarios that are used for the climate models in the assessment. Only occasionally do authors discuss the fact that different assumptions in the emission scenarios will have implications for the severity of the impacts of climate change in the Arctic. By contrast, the overview takes the opportunity to explicitly inform policy makers that they have the

84 Summary Report of the Seveth Assessment Steering Committee (ASC) Meeting, 19-20 April 2001, Reykjavik, Iceland.

85 Interviews Elizabeth Weatherhead, November 11, 2004, and Robert Corell, November 21, 2004.

86 Interviews Elisabeth Weatherhead, November 11, 2004, and Aapo Taskanen, December 13, 2004.

87 Interview Robert Corell, November 21, 2004.

88 ACIA, Impacts of a Warming Arctic: Arctic Climate Impact Assessment, 3.

opportunity to influence the future. The following statement is an example of this: "Their scenarios encompass a range of possible futures based on how societies, economies, and energy technologies are likely to evolve, and can be used to estimate the likely range of future emissions that affect the future."89 The overview thus frames climate change in a way that gives policy makers a potential role. It also explicitly discusses the importance of the rate of change, a factor that is only raised by a few of the chapters of the scientific report.

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