A victory for the climate in the Arctic Council, according to Sweden – US signs a non-binding statement
The Arctic Council member states, including the United States, have signed a declaration in Fairbanks, Alaska that recognizes the existence of the Paris Agreement. This is a victory for the climate, according to Sweden.
– We got a climate text that was surprisingly positive and reminiscent of the Paris agreement, something we were not sure the Americans would agree to, Sweden’s ambassador to Arctic Council, Andrés Jato, told TT.
The statement was signed Wednesday in connection with a dinner hosted by US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.
– This signifies that the Paris agreement exists, that it has entered into force, and that it should be implemented, according to Jato.
He points out that it does not imply that the United States has taken a position on the central question of whether the country should withdraw from the climate agreement or not.
During the ministerial meeting later on Thursday, the declaration will be discussed at a political level.
President Donald Trumps clear signals that he would not emphasize neither climate and environmental efforts nor international cooperation in general, has created concern that the Arctic and the Arctic Council now will be abandoned by the United States.
That Tillerson invited to the meeting in Fairbanks, has however created some optimism in advance.
– There is growing interest in the Arctic, both in the US and internationally, not least because there are enormous resources there.
– Alaska is important to the United States, which, due to its own interests, will be an important player, says Minister of Foreign affairs, Børge Brende to NTB before the meeting.
During the meeting, the ministers will also sign an agreement to strengthen the research co-operation in the Arctic.
Furthermore they will receive reports from the the Arctic Council on issues related to climate, biodiversity and economic development.
Finland takes over
Tillerson will chairs the meeting. Organizations representing Arctic people, will also be present.
International cooperation in research, security and economic development are on the agenda.
Climate change, development and drilling are also key issues.
The meeting marks the end of the two-year US presidency, which Finland now takes over.
Finland has in advance announced that climate will be a core issue during their presidency.
© NTB Scanpix / Norway Today