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At a meeting of Foreign Ministers from all the Arctic Nations held Monday and Tuesday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo refused to sign a previously negotiated declaration of support by the nations for their joint strategy and cooperation plan in this key region because it involved working to address climate change impacts in the region. In a speech to the intergovernmental organization called the Arctic Council, Pompeo instead took an aggressive stance on the race for Arctic resources stating that “[t]his is America’s moment to stand up as an Arctic nation….[t]he region has become an arena of global power and competition,” according to The New York Times.
CNN late yesterday reported that the Administration denied that the U.S.refused to sign the previously agreed statement, arguing that the meeting was a big success and pointing to the one-page joint statement that eventually all the nations agreed to, which did not mention climate change.
Pompeo was there apparently there to make a point about China’s Arctic ambitions, which he sees as an unwelcome force in the Arctic — the Chinese are active in the Arctic Council as observers.
The Times reported that “Gao Feng, the head of the Chinese delegation to the Council, said Mr. Pompeo’s speech signaled the start of ‘a new bad era.’ ‘I’m not happy,’ he said immediately after the speech. ‘It’s a country that stepped out of the Paris Agreement and then they’re talking about protecting the environment of the Arctic.’
According to the Associated Press, Pompeo did briefly discuss conservation during the meeting, saying that “the Trump Administration shares your deep commitment to environmental stewardship,” and that protecting the Arctic is a “shared responsibility.” The Times reported Pompeo then went on to tout the region as a land of “opportunity and abundance,” and cited its untapped reserves of oil, gas, uranium, gold, fish, and rare earth minerals, as well as new shipping routes now available due to sea ice melting.
Climate change is, of course, a global phenomenon, but out of the contiguous United States, the Northeast is experiencing it particularly severely. As Kate Olson recently reported in Civil Eats, farmers in Maine are “struggl[ing]” with this “new, harsher climate reality” that includes even more deeply unpredictable weather events and extreme temperatures. As Ivan Fernandez […]
by Julia Pyper, host and producer of Political Climate John Podesta has had a long and distinguished career in American politics. The veteran Democrat official recalls a time when Members of Congress were open to working across the political aisle, the debate was healthy and the resulting policies were less prone to repeal. But today […]
As John Schwartz reported for the New York Times, for more than 40 years, scientists have had an idea of how much greenhouse gases will warm our planet. They’ve expressed the answer as a range of possible temperature increases, between 1.5 and 4.5 degrees Celsius, that will result from carbon dioxide levels doubling from preindustrial […]
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