Tackling Climate Change: ʺA Night of Arctic Coolʺ for the Royal Norwegian Embassy and the Meridian Rising Leaders Council

On February 9, Ambassador Kare R. Aas of Norway welcomed the Meridian Rising Leaders Council (RLC) to his residence for A Night of Arctic Cool. While the atmosphere was jovial, the subject of discussion was very serious: climate change’s effect on the Arctic region. Ambassador Aas opened the program with ‘chilling remarks’ on the importance of international cooperation leading up to the Climate Change Paris Summit in 2015. Following His Excellency’s comments, Dr. Harald Steen - leader for the Norwegian Polar Institute's centre for Ice, Climate and Ecosystems (ICE) – skyped in from the Lance, an international research vessel currently frozen into the Arctic Ocean to study the impacts of climate change and forecast future changes. The evening concluded with an exclusive performance from Norwegian pop artist Maria Mena.

To elevate the conversation, there were a number of experts on climate change, energy, and Arctic Policy including Captain Kathleen Duignan, Director of Emerging Policy Staff (DCO-X) and Senior Arctic Policy Advisor; Julie Gourley, Senior Arctic Official in the Office of Ocean and Polar Affairs; Daniel Juhn from the Center for Environment and Peace; Vedis Vik, Counselor for the Environment at the Royal Norwegian Embassy; Kevin Welsh, Director for Environment and Climate Change at the National Security Council; and Bryson Wong, Subcommittee on Water, Power and Oceans at the U.S. House of Representatives Natural Resources Committee.

Norway is one of the world’s more forward leaning countries for environmental protection. In order to achieve the 2°C threshold for global temperature rise, more countries must emulate their actions and make climate change solutions a policy priority. A part of the RLC’s commitment to engaging with the diplomatic corps in Washington, A Night of Arctic Cooler was a great way for members and interested parties to collectively highlight the subject’s importance, while also coming together to build relationships and collaborate on solutions.

The Rising Leaders Council (RLC) at Meridian forms a distinguished network of mid-career professionals from diverse sectors and disciplines who support Meridian’s mission of global leadership and non-partisan public diplomacy. Through Meridian’s core programming capabilities, the Council brings together leaders from the foreign diplomatic community with leaders in the public and private sectors to foster a substantive exchange of ideas on global leadership.

Project summary

Tackling Climate Change: ʺA Night of Arctic Coolʺ for the Royal Norwegian Embassy and the Meridian Rising Leaders Council
Regions: Europe and Eurasia
Countries: Norway
Impact Areas: Energy and the Environment
Program Areas: Forums
Partners: Diplomatic Corps, Public Sector