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The Trump Administration wreaked havoc on the Arctic Council, an intergovernmental forum that brings together eight nations and six Arctic Indigenous organizations to discuss issues impacting the melting top of the globe. As InsideClimate News reports, the cooperation among members that had been in place since it was established in 1996, broke down under the Trump administration due to its contrarian climate denial demands and erratic actions, which was made absurdly clear by Secretary of State Pompeo when hosted a meeting of the Council in 2019.
Why this Matters: With the Arctic warming twice as fast as the rest of the globe, it’s especially imperative to have international collaboration on how to navigate the changing realities. Melting sea ice means that Arctic shipping lanes are increasingly open, creating more emissions. Ocean acidification threatens unique marine life that thrives in its cold waters. It’s important for the Arctic Council to end the debilitating climate denial of the Trump era on these issues that desperately need regional cooperation and action. The new administration will inherit relationships to mend as the Council continues producing scientific reports and creating binding agreements to take on climate change where its impact is being felt so severely.
How Bad Did Things Get? Bad
U.S. negotiators followed Trump’s climate denial, to the point of not allowing the words “climate change” in joint documents.
The administration had a blatant lack of comprehension and respect for Arctic culture.
Instead of approaching Arctic diplomacy as a cooperative effort, the administration treated it as “a zone of conflict and somewhere the U.S. should seek to expand their influence at the expense of diplomacy and cooperation,” Whit Sheard, the president of the Circumpolar Conservation Union told InsideClimate News.
For the first time since the Council’s origin, there was no Arctic Council declaration — a summary of the past two years of work and an indication of what’s to come — because the US didn’t sign the document. That came after the US State Department proposed changes to the declaration that minimized climate change.
By Natasha Lasky, ODP Staff Writer The White House is considering new clean energy strategies for President Biden’s budget package to potentially replace measures blocked by coal-state Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia. The administration is considering an expansion of grants and loans for agricultural and industrial businesses to help them transition to cleaner energy, […]
While Senator Joe Manchin leads the opposition to climate provisions in President Biden’s budget bill, his own state is the most exposed to floods in the nation, according to new data released this month by the nonprofit organization First Street Foundation. Over 60% of West Virginia’s power stations are at risk, twice the average and […]
By Amy Lupica, ODP Daily Editor Documents obtained by Greenpeace UK’s investigative journalism team Unearthed reveal that many coal and oil-rich nations have urged the UN’s International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) to water down its upcoming report on the world’s options to fight climate change successfully. Thousands of comments were sent to the IPCC’s […]
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