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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 has emerged as a leading cause of biodiversity loss. As Scientific American noted, it will be the fastest-growing cause of species loss in the Americas by midcentury and in Africa it could cause some animals to decline by as much as 50 percent by the end of the century, and up to 90 […]
The historic city of Venice (a UNESCO world heritage site) flooded for the third time in a week, with Piazza St. Mark closed to tourists again on Sunday, and in Pisa and Florence torrential rains threaten to flood there too as the President of the region warned of a “flood wave” on the Arno that threads through both cities.
Why This Matters: Venice is a world treasure — it’s a city that floods with millions of tourists each year and is home to about 50,000 residents who depend on them. Its future is very much in doubt given the repeated and devastating floods — its residents are beginning to believe they are fighting a losing battle.
By Monica Medina, Founder and CEO of Our Daily Planet Earlier this year, I drafted a chapter for a book of “big” new environmental ideas entitled “A Better Planet: Forty Big Ideas for a Sustainable Future.” In my essay, I propose that in order to brace ourselves for the impacts of climate change that we […]