Trump's climate stance casts shadow over Arctic meeting (XOM)

Friday, 12 May, 2017

But Ambassador David Balton, the chief U.S. Arctic official, said American policy in the region hasn't really changed since the early 90s, even as each new administration puts its stamp on it.

The Arctic Economic Council is also set to bring together business representatives from the eight Arctic Council member nations and its six indigenous permanent participants for a May 9 meeting.

Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland says it is significant that the United States joined its Arctic Council partners in signing a declaration that supports the Paris accord on climate change.

Or at least that's the hope leading into the ministerial meeting, although Finland has anxious that the USA and Russian Federation could undermine the ability of the consensus-based Arctic Council's eight nation members to agree.

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson will chair the meeting, and organizations representing the indigenous people of the Arctic will also take part. The council reworked the wording and convinced the accept the changes.

FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) - Arctic nations have renewed calls for the world to address climate warming, but U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson says the United States will not rush to make a decision on its policies.

While that agreement seeks to hold global warming to "well below" a 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) increase above pre-industrial levels, the Arctic is expected to continue to lead the globe and warm up far more than that, thanks to amplifying factors that affect sea ice at the top of the world. "We're going to work to make the right decision for the United States".

"Climate change has been an ongoing topic of interest for the Arctic Council for many chairmanships", he said, predicting that Finland would take up the charge.

Russia: Syria deal bans US-led coalition aircraft
The High Negotiations Committee (HNC), the main Syrian opposition umbrella group, criticised the plan as vague and illegitimate . The U.S. and Russian Federation signed the memorandum in 2015 when Russian Federation began its air operations in the country.

According to the office of the Prime Minister, Finland plans to emphasise environmental protection, connectivity, meteorology and education during its term at the helm, with the Paris Agreement to combat climate change front and centre.

The deal will be the third legally-binding agreement in the Arctic Council's 20-year history, joining the 2011 agreement on search and rescue and the 2011 agreement on cooperation on marine oil pollution preparedness and response in the Arctic.

He has since launched a review of U.S. participation in the deal, but the White House revealed this week that no decision will be made until Trump returns from Europe on May 27.

"He said, well, you know, we ought to first establish our climate policy and then decide on the Paris Agreement and how it relates", Wallstrom told The Associated Press.

The U.S. will be handing over its two-year chairmanship of the council to Finland at Thursday's meeting.

The worst-case scenario feared by some would be that Tillerson used this gathering to announce the USA would withdraw from the Paris Agreement.

"And the US will remain engaged in the work that the Arctic Council does on climate change throughout".

But now that the chairmanship is coming to a close today in Fairbanks with leadership of the worldwide council transferring to Finland at a ceremony hosted at the Carlson Center, the fate of the committee's climate change work is uncertain. Protesters gathered in a city park nearby to denounce the presence of Tillerson, who was president of Exxon Mobil Corp.