Energy and Environment Program

Commissioners Speak Out

H.S.H. Prince Albert II, President, Prince Albert II Of Monaco Foundation:

“We have no choice: we must protect Arctic ice, enable it to continue to act as an essential temperature regulator for the planet, avoid the catastrophic rise in sea levels that would result from the ice melt, and stop disappearance of permafrost releasing irreversible quantities of greenhouse gases back into the atmosphere. It is a duty for ourselves and for all of humanity – for our children, of course, but also all those who are already suffering the dramatic effects of the developments. Meantime, we must do all we can to help the region respond to warming already in the system.”

Frances Beinecke, President of the Natural Resources Defense Council:

"Climate change is melting the Arctic ice cap pulling apart food webs, and threatening a wide array of Arctic marine wildlife and the Indigenous peoples who rely on healthy marine ecosystems for survival. Previously frozen areas are now opening up new fishing, shipping, offshore oil drilling and other industrial activities that pose further potentially devastating threats to an already fragile region. The eight countries surrounding the Arctic must come together to protect this extraordinary, delicate place before it's too late."

Sheila Watt-Coutier, Human Rights and Environmental Advocate:

"I have been honored to serve with this remarkable group of civil society leaders from so many fields and perspectives.  That we were able to come to agreement on such a strong and innovative set of recommendations for preserving the future of the Arctic and its communities, and for ensuring that local indigenous knowledge informs regional and global decision-making, gives me great hope for the future of our people.  It shows that, when we come together to holistically consider the impacts of climate change on human communities, ecosystems and economies, we can agree to changes that center our considerations on our shared humanity."

Patricia Cochran, Executive Director, Alaska Native Science Commission:

"There are many challenges facing Northern indigenous peoples - whether ecological, economic, social, cultural or health related - they are all connected. This report, which I am proud to have been part of, acknowledges that empowering communities and indigenous organizations through greater legal rights at the local, national and international levels, and through lasting economic capacity, are the best means to make sustainable improvements in the quality of life in those communities."

David Lawrence, Executive VP, Exploration and Commercial, Upstream Americas, Shell:

"Shell believes that through international and inclusive engagement with stakeholders on science, sustainable development planning and harmonization of standards we can ensure responsible development of Arctic resources. The Aspen work provides useful insights on how this cooperation between parties can be enhanced"

James Leape, Director General, WWF - International:

"Even with the Arctic suffering rapid environmental change, it still faces the possibility of accelerating economic development. This report is the most comprehensive review available for options to improve the Arctic governance and could be the best hope we have for dealing with this looming crisis. At WWF, we believe that effective governance of the Arctic will have to include, in particular, the reports recommendations on marine spatial planning, integrated management, and accountability. While I believe very strongly in the importance of legally binding agreements, I would also urge foreign ministers due to meet in May this year to profit from the opportunity by discussing new measures on spatial planning, integrated management, and accountability".

Sylvia Earle, Explorer-in-Residence, National Geographic Society:

"Decisions are now being made that will determine the fate of the Arctic Ocean, with monumental impacts on the future of all people, everywhere. The report of the Aspen Arctic Dialogue and Commission on Climate Change provides deep insights and valuable guidance toward striking a balance between enduring care of the region's vulnerable natural systems and demands for immediate exploitation. The Commissions thoughtful deliberations and recommendations convey reasons for hope laced with a sense of urgency: There is but one chance, one time, to make the right choices and that time is now."

Sven-Olof Lindblad, Founder and President, Lindblad Expeditions:

"Developing recommendations that take into account global, regional, national and indigenous considerations is no small task.  There are so many constituencies that rely on Arctic health, balance and opportunity.  We hope this report helps in navigating the tough issues which challenge the nature and peoples of the Arctic and, ultimately, the world at large."

Lee McIntire, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, CH2M HILL:

"It is clear that energy, water, climate change, and eco-systems issues are Intertwined — and nowhere is this more evident than in the Arctic. The Aspen Report validates that, with collaboration and decisive action, the Arctic can be safeguarded. It is an exciting time to be creating new sustainable solutions in this world of threat and opportunity."

Thomas E. Lovejoy, Biodiversity Chair, The Heinz Center:

"An exceedingly thoughtful report for the most rapidly changing part of the planet: it illuminates the sensible way forward."

Fran Ulmer, Chancellor, University of Alaska [past Commissioner]:

"The people of the Arctic feel an intense connection to the land and water, relying heavily on the unique resources and conditions for their physical and cultural lives. Rapid changes are endangering the people, their communities and the balance that they have with the natural environment on which they depend. It is imperative that the concerns of Arctic people be considered along with the many competing and demanding uses that commercial interests are pursuing as the Arctic warms and ice retreats."