AMBIO

, Volume 41, Issue 1, pp 75–84 | Cite as

Arctic Tipping Points: Governance in Turbulent Times

Article

Abstract

Interacting forces of climate change and globalization are transforming the Arctic. Triggered by a non-linear shift in sea ice, this transformation has unleashed mounting interest in opportunities to exploit the region’s natural resources as well as growing concern about environmental, economic, and political issues associated with such efforts. This article addresses the implications of this transformation for governance, identifies limitations of existing arrangements, and explores changes needed to meet new demands. It advocates the development of an Arctic regime complex featuring flexibility across issues and adaptability over time along with an enhanced role for the Arctic Council both in conducting policy-relevant assessments and in promoting synergy in interactions among the elements of the emerging Arctic regime complex. The emphasis throughout is on maximizing the fit between the socioecological features of the Arctic and the character of the governance arrangements needed to steer the Arctic toward a sustainable future.

Keywords

Adaptation Anticipatory responses Arctic Council Governance Non-linear change Regime complex Tipping point Uncertainty 

References

  1. Adger, W.N., J. Paavola, S. Huo, and M.J. Mace (eds.). 2006. Fairness in adaptation to climate change. Cambridge: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  2. Anderson, A. 2009. After the ice: life, death, and geopolitics in the new arctic. New York: Smithsonian Books.Google Scholar
  3. Arctic Climate Impact Assessment (ACIA). 2004. In Impacts of a warming arctic: arctic climate impact and assessment, ed. Hassol SJ. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  4. Berkman, P.A., and A.N. Vylegzhanin, eds. 2012. Environmental Security in the Arctic Ocean. Dordrecht: Springer (in press).Google Scholar
  5. Crowder, L.B., G. Osherenko, O.R. Young, S. Airamé, E.A. Norse, N. Baron, J.C. Day, F. Douvere, C.N. Ehler, B.S. Halpern, S.J. Langdon, K.L. McLeod, J.C. Ogden, R.E. Peach, A.A. Rosenberg, and J.A. Wilson. 2006. Resolving mismatches in U.S. Ocean Governance. Science 313: 617–618.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Delmas, M.A., and Young, O.R., eds. 2009. Governance for the environment. New Perspectives. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  7. Duarte, C.M., S. Agustí., P. Wassmann, J.M. Arrieta, M. Alcaraz, A. Coello, N. Marbà, I.E. Hendriks, J. Holding, I. García-Zarandona, E. Kritzberg, and D. Vaqué. 2012. Tipping elements in the arctic marine ecosystem. In The Arctic in the Earth System perspective: the role of tipping points, ed. Wassmann, P., Lenton, T.M. Ambio. doi: 10.1007/s13280-011-0224-7.
  8. Ebinger, C.K., and E. Zambetakis. 2009. The geopolitics of Arctic melt. International Affairs 85: 1215–1232.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Elferink, A.G.O. (ed.). 2005. Stability and change in the law of the sea: the role of the LOS convention. Leiden: Martinus Nijhoff.Google Scholar
  10. Galaz,V., Hahn, T., Olsson, P., Folke, C., and Svedin, U. 2008. The problem of fit among biophysical systems, environmental and resource regimes, and broader governance systems: insights and emerging challenges. In Institutions and Environmental Change, ed. Young, O. R., King, L.A., and Schroeder, H. Cambridge: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  11. Harris, M. 1998. Lament for an ocean: the collapse of the Atlantic cod fishery. Toronto: McClelland and Stewart.Google Scholar
  12. Holling, C.S., and Gunderson, L. 2002. Resilience and Adaptive Cycles. In Panarchy: understanding transformations in human and natural systems, ed. Gunderson, L. and Holling, C.S. Washington: Island Press.Google Scholar
  13. Howard, R. 2009. The Arctic gold rush: the new race for tomorrow’s natural resources. London: Continuum.Google Scholar
  14. Hutchings, J. 1996. Spatial and temporal variation in the density of Northern cod: a review of hypotheses for the stock’s collapse. Canadian Journal of Aquatic Science 53: 943–962.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Keohane, R.O., and D.G. Victor. 2011. The regime complex for climate change. Perspectives on Politics 9: 7–23.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Lenton, T.M., H. Held, E. Kriegler, J. Hall, W. Lucht, S. Rahmstorf, and H.J. Schellnhuber. 2008. Tipping elements in the earth’s climate system. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA 105: 1786–1793.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Lenton, T.M. 2012. Arctic climate tipping points. In The Arctic in the Earth System perspective: the role of tipping points, ed. Wassmann, P., Lenton, T.M. Ambio. doi:10.1007/s13280-011-0221-x.
  18. McConnell, J.R., R. Edwards, G.L. Kok, M.G. Flanner, C.S. Zender, E.S. Saltzman, J.R. Banta, and D.R. Pasteris. 2007. 20th-Century industrial black carbon emissions altered arctic climate forcing. Science 317: 1381–1384.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Nuttall, M., and T. Callaghan (eds.). 2000. The Arctic: environment, people, policy. Amsterdam: Harwood Academic Publishers.Google Scholar
  20. Oberthür, S., and T. Gehring (eds.). 2006. Institutional interaction and global environmental governance: synergy and conflict among international and EU policies. Cambridge: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  21. Oberthür, S., and O.S. Stokke (eds.). 2011. Managing institutional complexity: regime interplay and global environmental change. Cambridge: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  22. Perovich, D.K., B. Light, H. Eicken, K.F. Jones, K. Runciman, and S.V. Nghiem. 2007. Increasing solar heating of the Arctic Ocean and adjacent seas, 1979–2005: attribution and role in the ice-albedo feedback. Geophysical Research Letters 34: L19505. doi: 10.1029/2007GL031480.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Pincetl, S.S. 1999. Transforming California: a political history of land use and development. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press.Google Scholar
  24. Raustiala, K., and D.G. Victor. 2004. The regime complex for plant genetic resources. International Organization 55: 277–309.Google Scholar
  25. Ridley, J., Gregory, J., Huybrechts, P., and Lowe, J. 2009. Thresholds for irreversible decline of the Greenland ice sheet. Climate Dynamics: 35:1065–1073.Google Scholar
  26. Smith, L.C. 2010. The world in 2050: four forces shaping civilization’s northern future. New York: Dutton.Google Scholar
  27. Stern, N. 2009. The global deal: climate change and the creation of a new era of progress and prosperity. New York: Public Affairs.Google Scholar
  28. Tversky, A., and D. Kahneman. 1974. Judgment under uncertainty: heuristics and biases. Science 186: 1124–1131.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Underdal, A., and O.R. Young (eds.). 2004. Regime consequences: methodological challenges and research strategies. Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic Publishers.Google Scholar
  30. Wadhams, P. 2012. Ice cover, ice thickness and tipping points. In The Arctic in the Earth System perspective: the role of tipping points, ed. Wassmann, P., Lenton, T.M. Ambio. doi:10.1007/s13280-011-0222-9.
  31. Wang, M., and J. Overland. 2009. A sea ice free summer Arctic within 30 years? Geophysical Research Letters 36: L07502. doi: 10.1029/2009GL037820.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Wassmann, P., C.M. Duarte, S. Agustí, and M.K. Sejr. 2011. Footprints of climate change in the Arctic marine ecosystem. Global Change Biology 17: 1235–1249.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Wassmann, P., and Lenton, T. 2012. In The Arctic in the Earth System perspective: the role of tipping points, ed. Wassmann, P., Lenton, T.M. Ambio. doi:10.1007/s13280-011-0230-9.
  34. Worster, D. 2004. Dust bowl: the southern plains in the 1930s. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  35. Young, O.R. 1992. Arctic politics: conflict and cooperation in the circumpolar north. Hanover: University Press of New England.Google Scholar
  36. Young, O.R. 2008. Building regimes for socioecological systems: institutional diagnostics. In Institutions and environmental change, ed. Young, O.R., King, L.A., and Schroeder, H. Cambridge: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  37. Young, O.R. 2011. If an Arctic Ocean treaty is not the solution, what is the alternative? Polar Record 47: 327–334.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Young, O.R., L.A. King, and H. Schroeder (eds.). 2008. Institutions and environmental change: principal findings, applications, and research frontiers. Cambridge: MIT Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Bren School of Environmental Science and ManagementUniversity of California (Santa Barbara)Santa BarbaraUSA

Personalised recommendations