Domingo, 24 Setiembre, 2017

US Ends Arctic Council Chairmanship By Signing Treaty on Carbon Emissions

Ramiro Mantilla | 20 May, 2017, 11:27

"The Arctic region has been facing unprecedented change and challenges", Tillerson said.

Eye on the Arctic: What grade would you give the USA chairmanship and why? High-level officials from the world's eight Arctic nations will meet in.

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson hands the Arctic Council gavel over to Finland's Minister of Foreign Affairs Timo Soini in Fairbanks, Alaska on Thursday.

Arctic Council Ministerial Meeting participants will adopt a declaration on the commitment of all Arctic states to peace, stability and cooperation in the Arctic, RIA Novosti reports, quoting the Russian Foreign Ministry's Information and Press Department. It refers to "reiterating the importance of climate science to our understanding of the changing Arctic region and our activities in the Arctic environment".

Tillerson signed the document.

Thursday's Council meeting marks the end of two years of American leadership in the Arctic, and the policy brief states that it will be hard to foster transatlantic cooperation between the USA under Trump and other Arctic States around the stated Finnish focus of the Paris Agreement and Sustainable Development Goals. "We're not going to rush to make a decision".

Tillerson sought to reassure the worldwide Arctic community, saying "we're not going to rush" to make a decision, but that the American government would make "the right decision for the United States".

"This ministerial is convening as the Arctic is unravelling at an accelerating rate", said Mr Rafe Pomerance, a State Department official in the Clinton administration and the chairman of Arctic 21, an advocacy group.

European Union and USA sanctions and Russian Federation, and the Trump administration's plan to cut spending on climate change and environmental protection programmes, have cast a shadow over the council's work. Created in 1996, the council largely focuses on worldwide cooperation, environmental protection research and helping local communities in the region develop sustainable economies. The council does not make policy or allocate resources, and its decisions must be unanimous.

The meeting in Fairbanks marked the end of the U.S.'s two-year rotating role as chairman of the council.

Also, given the entrance of the new administration, I don't think the USA chairmanship is going out on a high note given the political tumult going on back in D.C.

In his confirmation hearing earlier this year, he told senators he supports U.S. participation in the Paris Agreement, saying, "I think we're better served by being at that table than leaving that table". I think this could have been better communicated (under the US chairmanship) and perhaps painted a more human picture of the Arctic to Americans. He also serves a president who calls climate change a hoax perpetrated by the Chinese to make American manufacturing uncompetitive. "It's telling us to implement promises to slow the change", Chairman Victor Joseph of the Tanana Chief Conference said before Tillerson was introduced at the celebration. "The Arctic Council will continue to be an important platform as we deliberate on these issues".

"This is a document that was negotiated with the United States holding the pen".

Under U.S. leadership, the council has made significant strides in addressing pollution, particularly heavy fuel oil (HFO) and black carbon, which have outsized impacts on climate change, and in improving relations with indigenous communities.

Aleksi Harkonen, Finland's senior Arctic official, said even if the United States reduced its commitment to the council and Arctic issues, the organization's work would continue.

Harri Mikkola of the FIIA said he understood the "dexterity" used by Soini as a reference to fast reappraisals of the U.S. Arctic policy Finland may be confronted with.

In her comments, the Canadian representative thanked the United States and said that, despite hard negotiations, the council "came to a really good place with [its] statement".

At the meeting in Fairbanks, the eight nations released a joint statement that cites the Paris accord and calls for global action to reduce greenhouse gases.

Tillerson arrived late Wednesday afternoon in Fairbanks.