The Arctic Council — and especially its science arm, the Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Program (AMAP) – has long been a leader in documenting the rapid changes in that key cryosphere region. Its ground-breaking Arctic Climate Impact Assessment, published in 2004 (see http://amap.no/acia/), first opened the eyes of the world community to the reality of changes in this region directly attributable to ongoing global warming. The 2011 SWIPA report (Snow, Water, Ice and Permafrost in the Arctic), with hundreds of co-authors further detailed the rapid changes taking place throughout the Arctic region.
ICCI and its founder, Pam Pearson began working with the Council already in 2007, based in Sweden as a consultant to the Climate Policy Center (CPC) and Clean Air Task Force (CATF), to begin bringing the Council’s attention to the work of many researchers such as Jim Hansen, Patricia Quinn, Andreas Stohl, Terje Berntsen and many others to the attention of the policy world. A first meeting between policy makers and scientists occurred in Oslo, Norway in November 2007 under Chatham House rules, and this “Oslo group” followed up in May 2008 with a second meeting in Copenhagen, Denmark which among other speakers included the legendary Svend Auken, former Danish environment minister speaking to the need to address Arctic warming with all means at our disposal.
The effort moved into more official circles later that year, with a first Arctic Council seminar organized by AMAP in 2008 that resulted in the earliest official compilation on the impact of these substances, and their potential also in mitigation efforts. As a result of this work, the 2009 Ministerial Meeting in Tromsø, Norway led to the formation of the policy-oriented Task Force on Short-lived Forcers, and ICCI began serving as the Task Force’s unofficial secretariat.
The Task Force issued an initial report focused on black carbon policies in 2011 at the Nuuk Ministerial meeting under Danish chairmanship, with a second Report to Ministers was issued at the ministerial meeting in Kiruna in May 2013 that focused also on the importance of methane emissions, with additional detail on black carbon. (See http://www.arctic-council.org/index.php/en/environment-a-climate/climate-change/172-slcf for both the Technical report and Summary for Ministers from 2011, and a PDF of the 2013 report can be found at MM08_ACTF_SLCFsFinalSummaryReport_English_5-13-2013-1 .)
The 2013 Ministerial resulted in a new, higher-level Task Force co-chaired by Canada and Sweden, that met for the first time in White Horse in October 2013. That Task Force is exploring the possibility of an Arctic Council black carbon agreement, and ICCI is providing policy support also to this effort. AMAP continues its scientific work on short-lived forcers through two working groups, one focused on black carbon/methane, and the other on ozone, a potentially potent short-lived climate forcer in the Arctic region in springtime, yet with extremely complex atmospheric chemistry in this region that requires additional clarification.
Finally, the project-oriented Arctic Contaminants Action Plan (ACAP) has begun multi-country programs under its Black Carbon Working Group, on such sector as open burning, diesel and residential wood burning in Arctic Council nations. ICCI is a member of the Black Carbon Working Group, with its projects on open burning and residential heating (see more detail under the Program pages for each).