Aspen Institute Commission on Arctic Climate Change Releases Final Report and Recommendations

January 26, 2011

Commission Calls for Action to Address Climate Change Response in the Arctic Marine Environment


Washington DC, January 26, 2011 –– The Aspen Institute is pleased to announce the release of the final report and recommendations of the Aspen Institute Commission on Arctic Climate Change. The report and recommendations promote an important new perspective on the level of international cooperation and stewardship that will be necessary to manage the Arctic marine environment in anticipation of the climate change impacts the region now faces.

Commission member, HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco said, “We have no choice: we must protect the 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 the 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 these developments.  Meantime, we must do all we can to help the region respond to warming already in the system.”

The report entitled “THE SHARED FUTURE” identifies strategies and approaches to help conserve the critical biological resources of the Arctic Ocean and to assure sustainable livelihoods of the communities that depend on these resources for their survival.  The report focuses on several recommendations to strengthen the management of the Arctic marine environment in ways that will sustain the natural resilience of the Arctic’s multiple interdependent ecosystems.  A key recommendation is that “Arctic governments should take immediate steps to begin developing an Arctic Marine Conservation and Sustainable Development plan by 2012, in collaboration with civil society and other interested parties.”

“The Aspen Commission on Arctic Climate Change employed an extensive dialogue process to develop recommendations that can safeguard both the sustainable development and conservation of the Arctic for the future,” said David Monsma, executive director of the Aspen Institute’s Energy and Environment Program and the Aspen Arctic Commission. “The Commission believes the recommendations for long-range international cooperation to create a more holistic ecosystem-based management approach in the Arctic marine environment, along with implementation of a marine spatial planning process, are critical to safeguard this vulnerable area.”

The Commission report also includes a technical section entitled “MARINE SPATIAL PLANNING IN THE ARCTIC:  A first step toward ecosystem-based management.”  This section provides a public process that examines human activities at the ecosystem level, to understand their impacts and resolve possible conflicts between activities.

The members of the Aspen Commission on Arctic Climate Change are:

HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco, President, Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation

Lloyd Axworthy, President and Vice Chancellor, University of Winnipeg

Frances Beinecke, President, Natural Resources Defense Council

Patricia Cochran, Chair, Indigenous Peoples’ Global Summit on Climate Change

Sylvia Earle, Explorer in Residence, National Geographic

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

James Leape, Director General, WWF – International

Sven Lindblad, Founder and President, Lindblad Expeditions

Thomas E. Lovejoy, Biodiversity Chair, The Heinz Center

Lee McIntire, President and Chief Operating Officer, CH2M HILL

Sheila Watt-Cloutier, Human Rights and Environmental Advocate

Quotes and comments by Commission members:

For more information on the Commission and its findings and to obtain a copy of the Commission Report, please visit:

The Aspen Institute Commission on Arctic Climate Change was generously supported by the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation.

The Aspen Institute mission is twofold: to foster values-based leadership, encouraging individuals to reflect on the ideals and ideas that define a good society, and to provide a neutral and balanced venue for discussing and acting on critical issues. The Aspen Institute Energy and Environment Program provides nonpartisan leadership and a neutral forum for constructive dialogue on complex policy issues in the areas of energy and environmental policy. The unique ability of the Aspen Institute to gather participants representing a rich diversity of perspectives combined with an informal atmosphere and a strict not-for-attribution rule fosters candid exchanges and creative thinking.  For more information please visit:

The Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation strives to act as an accelerator of projects and solutions for the environment. It promotes sustainable and equitable management of natural resources and places the individual at the centre of its projects. It encourages the implementation of innovative and ethical solutions in three main areas: climate change, biodiversity and water.  For more information please visit:



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