Arctic Yearbook 2015 - Page 416

416 Arctic Yearbook 2015 In particular, the Arctic Council contributed greatly to the understanding of the implications of climate change through its 2004 Arctic Climate Impact Assessment (ACIA) – an unprecedented regional assessment of ongoing climate change impacts (Nilsson 2007). Since then, the Council continued to foster climate related research, with recent projects focused on the impacts of climate change on the cryosphere and on ocean acidification. While it continues to play a critical role to foster regional cooperation on climate science, the Council struggled for a long time to initiate policy actions on the basis of these recommendations (French & Scott 2009: 654). The reduction of emissions of shortlived climate forcers could in particular provide an avenue for the Council to promote regional action mitigating climate change (Rosenthal & Watson 2011). Currently, the Arctic Council’s Expert Group on Black Carbon and Methane is considering this issue and supports the implementation of the Council’s Framework for Action on Enhanced Black Carbon and Methane Emissions Reductions adopted during the 2015 ministerial meeting. Who “speaks for” the Arctic in the UN climate negotiations? Three main groups of actors participating to this negotiation process could possibly highlight the nature of Arctic climate changes: the Arctic states, Arctic indigenous peoples and the research community. The number of Arctic-focused side events organized during the climate conferences provides an indication of the role played by different actors to ensure that Arctic climate changes do inform the negotiations. While these events do not provide formal input to the political process, these events offer a significant opportunity to highlight emerging issues (Hjerpe & Linnér 2010). The limited role played by the Arctic states and their forum In state-driven processes such as the UN climate talks, national governments have an almost exclusive role in relation to the definition of its scope. The eight Arctic states are therefore best positioned to potentially promote Arctic specific issues in the climate negotiations. Up to now, their governments have however played a relatively limited role to bring polar issues at the UNFCCC. Table 1: Panels dedicated to the Arctic during the Annual UN climate conferences What Role for the Arctic in COP-21?