Climate Change Top of Mind for Arctic Council

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May 14, 2017

The Arctic Council gathered in Fairbanks, Alaska, for a high-level meeting, with climate change at the top of the list. 

Many studies have shown that the Arctic region is warming at a rate up to twice as much as the rest of the planet, with Arctic waters showing higher levels of acidity and pollution and ice flows at an all-time low. Among the 45 points noted in the Fairbanks Declaration 2017were a commitment to continue to raise awareness, to act to stem the rate of global warming and water pollution, to pursue production of clean and sustainable energy sources, and to pursue methods of reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Representing the U.S. at the Fairbanks meeting was Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. His high-level counterparts were Ministers for Foreign Affairs.

High-ranking representatives from Canada, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Russia, Sweden, and the United States meet every two years for a Ministerial meeting, at a location in one of the countries. One nation serves as host for a two-year period. The U.S. has been chair of the Arctic Council for the past two years. The new host nation is Finland.

The eight member nations established the Arctic Council in 1996. Also part of the apparatus are six Permanent Participants, organizations that represent Arctic indigenous peoples, and seven Observers, which include organizations such as the World Meteorological Organization and the National Geographic Society.

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