Tillerson: Trump will not rush United States climate policy review

The council signed an Agreement on Enhancing International Arctic Scientific Cooperation.

But two of the questions hanging over President Donald Trump's White House were also on envoy's minds in Alaska.

The group acknowledges that "the Arctic is warming at more than twice the rate of the global average, resulting in widespread social, environmental, and economic impacts in the Arctic and worldwide, and [there is a] pressing and increasing need for mitigation and adaptation actions and to strengthen resilience".

All eight Arctic State Minister-level Representatives are set to review and authorize work achieved under the two-year U.S. Chairmanship, that aims to boost sustainable development and environmental protection in the polar region. "I am very confident there will be no change in that regard".

Balton, a career diplomat who has served as the chairman of the council's senior Arctic official, has been careful to downplay any conflicts between the Trump administration's Arctic policies and those of past presidents.

In the preamble, the declaration also noted "the entry into force of the Paris Agreement on climate change and its implementation, and reiterating the need for global action to reduce both long-lived greenhouse gases and short-lived climate pollutants".

"Through the Arctic Council, we have a venue that has been doing very well in promoting worldwide cooperation among all the eight nations, including Russian Federation".

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

"While Secretary of State Tillerson will participate in the Ministerial Meeting in Fairbanks, there is skepticism that his presence will translate to sustained interest in the region and to Finland's goal of implementing the Paris Agreement". Ethel Blake, who represents indigenous Gwich'in people in the USA and Canada, warned that rapid warming in the Arctic threatens their way of life.

The Obama administration had emphasized climate change and scientific research during the two-year USA chairmanship.

While some of Trump's closest aides have urged him to do withdraw from the Paris accord, experts say such a move could stir diplomatic tension with other nations.

Tillerson announced that the United States will not rush to make a decision on its policies.

In his remarks at the close of the conference, Tillerson noted that the administration is "reviewing" a variety of USA policies, including on climate change.

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

Tillerson arrived late Wednesday afternoon in Fairbanks.

Tillerson passed a birchwood gavel to Finland's Foreign Minister Timo Soini, ending two years of the US chairing the council. "This place is attractive, and this place is delicate, and what already is happening in the Arctic will affect the rest of the Earth".

He suggested Tillerson "should get away from his cronies in the oil business and start listening to the people of Alaska, for instance, and the people of the world who are so interested in these issues".

The Finnish business daily Kauppalehti reported this week, however, that attitudes in the Finnish maritime industry cluster differ somewhat from the emphasis on climate change and sustainability.

  • Carolyn Briggs