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Climate change and human health in the Arctic: recommendations for the Arctic Council

May 14, 2019

Author:

Kiana Rhani

Anthropogenic climate change has been at the forefront of the discussions in the Arctic Council since its creation. Noting that “the evidence of global warming is in no place more obvious than in the Arctic region” the Council has established itself as a unique body with both a genuine interest in the impacts of climate change in the Arctic and a purposeful pursuit of actions and policies that maintain the integrity and longevity of the circumpolar region. (Arctic Council) With this in mind, this report will focus on the human side of climate change- specifically how human health has faced challenges and will continue to battle those challenges in the face of increased warming and pollution in the Arctic region.

The impact of climate change on human health is a multi-parameter problem unbounded by borders and unparalleled in impact. This problem is particularly destructive in the Arctic as black carbon, warming temperatures, and melting permafrost have threatened food security, jeopardized homes, and lead to water and sanitation crisis. For the four million people which live in the Arctic, climate change poses a very real and ever increasing threat to their health and their way of life.

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