Washington, D.C. — The Arctic is about more than ice and polar bears. It is about people, communities, and the future stability of our planet. That’s why the Obama administration has vowed to improve economic and living conditions in the Arctic, address climate change, and strengthen Arctic Ocean stewardship when U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry becomes the chairman of the Arctic Council next year. U.S. Senior Arctic Official Julie Gourley rolled out Secretary Kerry’s priorities at the Senior Arctic Officials meeting this week in Yellowknife, Canada. The priorities were endorsed by other Arctic nations.
Carol M. Browner, Distinguished Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress, said, “With this ambitious U.S. Arctic Council agenda, Secretary Kerry has positioned the United States to lead bold initiatives to slow Arctic and global warming and reduce oil spill risks in the region. These actions will cut black carbon and methane pollution; help Arctic communities adapt to the dramatic changes in their region; and protect natural areas, wildlife, and fisheries for future generations.”
CAP Senior Fellow Cathleen Kelly added, “Secretary Kerry clearly sees this as a historic opportunity to reduce the risks of a rapidly warming Arctic and growing commercial activity in this fragile region. Arctic Council member and observer nations are responsible for at least 60 percent of global black carbon emissions and more than 40 percent of global human-caused methane emissions—both potent drivers of global warming. We commend Secretary Kerry for pledging to use his chairmanship to help slow climate change, expand renewable energy use, strengthen Arctic community resilience, and ensure that development in the region is environmentally sustainable.”
The Arctic Council chairmanship rotates every two years among the eight Arctic nations: Canada; Denmark, which includes Greenland and the Faroe Islands; Finland; Iceland; Norway; Russia; Sweden; and the United States.
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