Arctic Warming: Environmental, Human, and Security Implications

Arctic warming has myriad implications for the Arctic environment, residents, and nations.  Although definitive predictions are difficult, without question the scope and rapidity of change will test the adaptive capacities of the Arctic environment as well as its residents.  Warming is affecting marine ecosystems and marine life, terrestrial ecosystems, and the animals and people who depend on them.  Human impacts include effects on access to food and resources; health and wellbeing; and community cohesion, traditions, and culture.  Increased shipping and resource activity create the need for additional maritime presence and security; better environmental and safety regulations; peaceful resolution of boundary disputes and jurisdictional issues; and increased homeland security, law enforcement, immigration, public health, and related activities.  The response to many of these challenges must be international and cooperative, should involve indigenous voices, and can be accomplished within existing legal and institutional frameworks by strengthening institutions and developing legally binding measures in several specific areas such as the regulation of shipping, oil and gas activity, and fishing for the purposes of safety, security, and ecosystem protection.

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