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"Late lessons from early warnings" - Uncertainty and precaution in policy approaches to Arctic climate change impacts

Iulie Aslaksen, Solveig Glomsrød, Anne Ingeborg Myhr

The complexities of the socio-ecological systems of Arctic nature and communities challenge the science community and policy makers to take into account the interactions between economic development, ecological systems, and living conditions. Strong uncertainties regarding the extent of climate change impacts and their irreversible consequences amplify the need to consider Arctic economic development in a wider context of sustainable development. Precautionary approaches are needed to consider diverse economic, environmental, and ethical values when assessing the climate change impacts and proposals for adaptation on the sustainability of Arctic environments and communities. Discussing the relevance of a precautionary approach for the Arctic context, we present the framework outlined in the report ‘Late lessons from early warnings’ from the European Environmental Agency and provide suggestions and examples of how these lessons can serve as guidelines for knowledge-gathering processes and policy strategies for adaptation to Arctic climate change impacts.

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