Even if the global community were to double down in its efforts to protect the climate, it would not be able to give the Arctic Ocean back its ice. But, in a symbolic act, Hamburg-based conceptual artist Swaantje Güntzel has done just that: on 18 November, at Båtsfjord in the far north of Norway, she produced ice cubes from meltwater taken from the North Pole and let them slip into the sea. This artistic intervention is part of Güntzel's year-long fellowship at the Research Institute for Sustainability - Helmholtz Centre Potsdam (RIFS).
More inclusive, equal and just ways in which Arctic research is conducted and research programs and funding processes are conceived, these are some of the main goals of the Roadmap to Decolonial Arctic Research. On 19 June 2023, a group of non-Indigenous and Indigenous rights holders and engaged scholars, from RIFS and several other organisations across Europe and the Arctic, presented the Roadmap to Decolonial Arctic Research to the public. The publication addresses the greatest challenges, needs and potentials of Decolonial Arctic Research over the next ten years.
The environment in the Arctic Circle and the Yamal region of Western Siberia is changing rapidly and the outlook for the region’s social, political, economic, and environmental future is clouded in uncertainty. A new IASS Discussion Paper presents the findings of the research project “Yamal 2040: Scenarios for the Russian Arctic”, in which researchers explored different future scenarios in cooperation with local stakeholders.
Over 100 experts on the Arctic Region, including researchers from the Institute of Advanced Sustainability Studies (IASS) in Potsdam, have prepared a concept paper on “Polar Regions in Transition” for the Federal Ministry of Education and Research. The paper, which presents recommendations on key areas of focus for polar research in the coming years, was presented to the public at an online launch on 19 May 2021.
Retreating ice, more shipping, fewer reindeer – climate change is already leaving its mark in the Arctic. How are people on the ground coping with these changes? At a recent event in Potsdam, indigenous scientist and entrepreneur Jocelyn Joe-Strack explained why numbers don’t tell the whole story and how her people in the Canadian Arctic are rebuilding their holistic relationship with nature.
The new textbook “Internationale Politik und Governance in der Arktis” offers a vivid and detailed overview of the actors, events, and processes that have shaped the governance of the Arctic Region. The textbook was written by IASS researcher Kathrin Stephen, Sebastian Knecht from Freie Universität Berlin and Golo M. Bartsch from the European External Action Service (Brussels).
At the end of February 2023, the research project DÁVGI: Co-creation for biocultural diversity in the Arctic held the second in a series of workshops aimed at further establishing and strengthening CO-CREATE, a collective of like-minded Indigenous and non-Indigenous researchers.
Green hydrogen (H2) is often portrayed as a key component for the green energy transition, since it is produced with renewable energy through electrolysis – the splitting up of freshwater into hydrogen and oxygen – and does not emit carbon dioxide when combusted. Not only does green hydrogen harbour huge potential for the decarbonization of hard-to-abate sectors (e.g. steelmaking and production of fertilizers) as well as maritime shipping and aviation, its use as an energy storage solution makes it particularly promising for remote and sparsely populated areas with an abundance of renewable energy resources.
As part of her two-week stay as visiting researcher at the IASS, Dr. Charleen Fisher (University of Alaska Fairbanks) held a workshop on traditional Gwich’in fur mitten making and bead working on Friday, July 15, 2022.
Climate change in the Arctic is unfolding twice as rapidly as in other parts of the world. This poses various challenges for the sustainable development of Northern communities and companies. The European research project Blue-Action evaluates the impact of climate change in the Arctic and develops new techniques to improve forecast accuracy. As part of a case study of the Yamal region in Russia, researchers are exploring the roles, perceptions and interests of various stakeholder groups in the sustainable development of the Arctic. Elena Nikitina, head of the Center for Global Economy at IMEMO, recently visited the IASS and provided insights into the formation of adaptive governance in the Arctic.
During my last visit to Russia I was watching Russian TV – an awful source of propaganda and misinformation, according to many. To my surprise, one of the federal (i.e. government-controlled) channels was reporting about climate change in a primetime slot. To my further surprise, the program didn’t rehash the usual conspiracy theories about what a fraud global warming is, invented by western politicians with the goal of harming Russia. No, it was a rather good report, which explained the correlation between climate change and the increasing frequency of extreme weather events.
A couple of weeks ago, I had the opportunity to attend the latest Arctic Summit Science Week in Fairbanks, Alaska. Building on the outcomes of last year’s summit in Toyama, Japan (see my previous post), the scientific community is increasingly seeking to unify synergies between the social and natural sciences to tackle problems related to Arctic change.
Last week I had the opportunity to travel to Reykjavik to attend Arctic Circle 2015, a large gathering bringing together scientists, policy makers, civil society, intergovernmental organisations and industry representatives (the accompanying short film provides a snapshot of the event).
The gathering is the brainchild of the Icelandic president Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson and aims to serve as a platform to increase participation in Arctic dialogue and strengthen the in
When the German Foreign Office asked me in March whether I would like to become a member of the Working Group on Sustainable Arctic Development in the German Observer Delegation of the Arctic Council, of course I did not hesitate. What a splendid opportunity for an Arctic scholar to experience Arctic governance first-hand!
A couple of weeks ago, I had the privilege of attending the Arctic Science Summit Week (ASSW) 2015 in Toyama, Japan, organised by the International Arctic Science Committee (IASC) and the Science Council of Japan. The event brought together nearly 700 international scientists, students, policy makers, research managers, Indigenous Peoples, and other key players with the goal of “developing, prioritizing and coordinating plans for future Arctic research”.