Washington - A high-level delegation, including Sens. John McCain, R-Ariz. and Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., has visited the Arctic island of Svalbard to learn about the Arctic's changing climate and be briefed on the forthcoming Arctic Climate Impact Assessment. This international project of the Arctic Council and the International Arctic Science Committee will be released in November. It is the first comprehensive peer-reviewed scientific assessment of current and projected climate change in the Arctic.
More than 250 preeminent climate researchers have participated in the assessment. Senators Lindsay Graham, R-S.C., John Sununu, R-N.H., and Susan Collins, R-Maine, are also part of the delegation.
Katherine Silverthorne, director of World Wildlife Fund's (WWF) U.S. Climate Change program released the following statement on the occasion of the historic visit to the Arctic:
"World Wildlife Fund's work in the Arctic has documented the growing threat climate change poses to polar bears and other wildlife. To give polar bears and other Arctic species a chance to survive, we must act now to limit emissions of heat-trapping carbon dioxide before it's too late. The upcoming release of the Arctic Climate Impact Assessment will confirm the urgency of the situation.
We admire the kind of leadership that takes these senators all the way to the Arctic to learn climate change impacts first hand. One cannot visit global warming's "ground zero" and not come away with a vivid picture of just how dire this problem will be if we don't take immediate steps to implement solutions."