Arctic-Himalayan Connection

ICCI’s work began in the Arctic, yet the organization was formed to help midwife connections between cryosphere regions. Perhaps no two regions have more to benefit from such a connection than the Arctic and the Himalayas.  On the face of it, the two regions are vastly different — one an ocean surrounded by land, the other entirely landlocked; one created by its high latitude, the other by its high altitude; one sparsely populated, with less than four million inhabitants; while 750 million are estimated to live in the Himalayan watershed region (and 2.5 billion rely on water arising in the region as a whole).

Yet many scientists already move between these two regions, working especially on issues related to black carbon emissions and methane releases.  On a policy level, both regions also face multiple national and cultural boundaries and challenges, with sources from one nation often having their primary impact on another.

The similarities and challenges are therefore strikingly similar despite the geographic differences; and policy makers from the two regions have much to learn from one another.  Joint approaches on challenges such as biomass heating and cooking, or agricultural burning also can create opportunities for greater progress: for example, from cross-fertilization of technologies being developed by engineers working to decrease black carbon emissions from stoves used for cooking in the Himalayas, and heating in the Arctic.

ICCI is working on several fronts to support these connections, especially in relation to its Nordic Council project on woodstoves, and within the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves, which has several active programs in the Himalayan region. It is especially seeking support and partners for a “Wood Stoves–Cook Stoves Summit,” potentially to be held in 2014. ICCI is also seeking to bring together scientists from the Arctic (AMAP, IASC), Antarctic (SCAR) and Third Pole-Himalayan region (Third Pole Environment) for joint “Three Pole” annual meetings, and has begun working in support of Icelandic efforts to create a future Himalayan Council.