Climate Change

Must Read

The Conversation: Why Is Antarctic Sea Ice Growing?

Author: Guy Williams

"This winter, the maximum total Antarctic sea ice extent was reported to be 19.47 million square metres, which is 3.6% above the winter average calculated from 1981 to 2010. This continues a trend that is weakly positive and remains in stark contrast to the decline in Arctic summer sea ice extent (2013 was 18% below the mean from 1981-2010). To further complicate this picture, we find this net increase actually masks strong declines in particular regions around Antarctica, such as in the Bellingshausen Sea, which are on par or greater than those in the Artic."

See more in Polar Regions; Climate Change

Ask CFR Experts

What is the most urgent global environmental issue and how should it be addressed?

Asked by Matthew Woltmann, from American Military University, California
Author: Daniel P. Ahn

Determining the "most urgent" global environmental issue is somewhat subjective; many would argue that carbon emissions and climate change is the most pressing issue. Others are just as passionate about deforestation, water scarcity, groundwater contamination, loss of biodiversity, landfills, ocean acidification, air quality… the list goes on.

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See more in Global; Climate Change; Environmental Policy

Must Read

CRS: Changes in the Arctic: Background and Issues for Congress

Author: Ronald O'Rourke

Many observers have noted that the loss of Arctic ice is already leading to stepped-up human activity in the high north, particularly in the form of increasing commercial traffic and development. This trend has brought forth a range of issues on the geopolitical front, from environmental protection to search-and-rescue capabilities to the delineation of national boundaries—which will determine access to natural resources. These concerns are being addressed cooperatively in both bilateral and multilateral fashion, especially under the aegis of the Arctic Council and the U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea.

See more in Arctic; Climate Change; Environmental Policy

Must Read

Lloyd's: Arctic Opening: Opportunity and Risk in the High North

Authors: Charles Emmerson and Glada Lahn

The Arctic region is undergoing unprecedented and disruptive change. Its climate is changing more rapidly than anywhere else on earth. Rising temperatures are causing a retreat of sea ice and changes to seasonal length, weather patterns and ecosystems. These changes have prompted a reassessment of economic and development potential in the Arctic and are giving rise to a set of far-reaching political developments.

See more in Economic Development; Climate Change; Arctic

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What should the United States and others do to mitigate or address the health consequences of climate change?

Asked by Lindsey Wahlstrom, from Columbia University

Climate change has both direct and indirect health consequences. Direct consequences include those resulting from high temperatures and severe weather events; while indirect ones arise from changing air and water quality and ecological shifts that favor tropical diseases and parasites.

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See more in United States; Climate Change; Health

Foreign Affairs Article

A Light in the Forest

Author: Jeff Tollefson

Since 1988, Brazilians have cleared more than 153,000 square miles of Amazonian rain forest, devastating the environment and driving global climate change forward ever faster. Recently, however, Brazil has changed its course, reducing the rate of deforestation by 83 percent since 2004. At the same time, it has become a test case for a controversial international climate-change prevention strategy that places a monetary value on the carbon stored in forests.

See more in Brazil; Climate Change; Forests and Land Management