, Volume 41, Issue 1, pp 75–84 | Cite as

Arctic Tipping Points: Governance in Turbulent Times

  • Oran R. Young


Interacting forces of climate change and globalization are transforming the Arctic. Triggered by a non-linear shift in sea ice, this transformation has unleashed mounting interest in opportunities to exploit the region’s natural resources as well as growing concern about environmental, economic, and political issues associated with such efforts. This article addresses the implications of this transformation for governance, identifies limitations of existing arrangements, and explores changes needed to meet new demands. It advocates the development of an Arctic regime complex featuring flexibility across issues and adaptability over time along with an enhanced role for the Arctic Council both in conducting policy-relevant assessments and in promoting synergy in interactions among the elements of the emerging Arctic regime complex. The emphasis throughout is on maximizing the fit between the socioecological features of the Arctic and the character of the governance arrangements needed to steer the Arctic toward a sustainable future.


Adaptation Anticipatory responses Arctic Council Governance Non-linear change Regime complex Tipping point Uncertainty 


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Copyright information

© Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Bren School of Environmental Science and ManagementUniversity of California (Santa Barbara)Santa BarbaraUSA

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