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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.
Billions of dollars of disaster preparedness funding are up for grabs from the Trump Administration, but to improve their odds of getting some of it, states are going out of their way NOT to mention climate change, according to The New York Times.
Why This Matters: Climate denials — explicit or implicit — don’t make its impacts or the need to adapt any less real.
Human rights advocates are cheering a landmark decision by the UN Human Rights Committee (HRC) mandating that governments must take into account the human rights violations caused by the climate crisis when considering the deportation of asylum seekers. In the decision, the UNHRC outlined that countries could violate people’s international rights if they force them […]