The rate of temperature increase in the Arctic as a whole is twice the global average and, in some parts of the Arctic, three to four times the global average. This rapid warming is not just opening up a new ocean, it is transforming and stressing social-ecological systems in the region and straining the ability of Arctic residents and stakeholders to assess and manage the evolving conditions. The rapid changes taking place in the Arctic also have dramatic implications for risk and uncertainty around the globe. These problems will grow as the region experiences ongoing, destabilizing transformations. The Belfer Center's Arctic Initiative strives to improve our collective understanding of these transformations and enhance the ability of Arctic residents and stakeholders to cope with change. With the goal of providing knowledge and tools that will help reduce risk and increase resilience in the region and elsewhere, the Arctic Initiative is initiating new research; convening stakeholders such as policymakers, scientists, and Arctic residents; and training a new generation of public and private experts to understand and address the many factors that are driving change and risk in the region.
“I use ‘disruptive’ in both its good and bad connotations. Disruptive scientific and technological progress is not to me inherently good or inherently evil. But its arc is for us to shape. Technology’s progress is furthermore in my judgment unstoppable. But it is quite incorrect that it unfolds inexorably according to its own internal logic and the laws of nature.”