Alaska study offers strategies to mitigate climate warming

onment to significant social and ecological change. By increasing biological, cultural, and economic diversity the authors argue that humans will have more options for adapting to changes and that such diversity can act as a buffer from change.

The third strategy focuses on reducing human and environmental vulnerability by effectively communicating to the public how the effects of high-latitude (Arctic) climate warming are linked to their low-latitude causes. "The climate change impacts being experienced in Alaska can be responded to here, but most of their causes need to be addressed at the national or international level," said co-author Martin Robards, a UAF RAP Ph.D. student. Reducing the anthropogenic (human-caused) contribution to climate warming - greenhouse gas emissions - is the key to mitigating climate change-related vulnerability in Interior Alaska," write the authors.

The fourth strategy is to facilitate transformation. "People typically prefer to adopt an accustomed life, rather than perpetually adapting to sudden and rapid changes," Robards said. "Transformation is the ability of people to look at the changing world and their place in it in new and unknown ways." For example, rising oil prices makes transforming an Alaska village from diesel-based fuel to biomass more feasible.

Despite the challenges of sustaining the beneficial attributes of complex social-ecological systems in the face of multiple large-scale directional changes, including climate warming, the authors conclude that each of the strategies provides societal benefits and suggest that all be pursued simultaneously.


Contact: Marie Gilbert
University of Alaska Fairbanks

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