Chrystia Freeland Praises Rex Tillerson's Work On Arctic Climate Change Declaration

Mr Tillerson's appearance this morning at a meeting of the Arctic Council, with the foreign ministers of Russia, Canada and the five other nations with Arctic territory, is expected to be taken up largely by formalities.

Finland's Foreign Minister Timo Soini, whose country will chair the council for the next two years, praised USA leadership in the Arctic Council but added that the Paris pact is an important tool in fighting climate change.

The foreign minister, Anders Samuelsen, is in Canada this week as part of his preparations for the upcoming Arctic Council summit in Fairbanks, Alaska this week.

Unlike former President Barack Obama, Trump has expressed doubts about whether human activity has a significant role in climate change, and is mulling whether to pull the United States out of a global pact to fight it.

Tillerson spoke Thursday in Fairbanks, Alaska, at a meeting of the Arctic Council, made up of the eight Arctic nations and indigenous groups.

Freeland was playing down any possibility of controversy, saying her priorities included supporting the "resilience" of Arctic communities, including indigenous people, to climate change, and "conserving Arctic biodiversity through science-based decision-making".

But given that all three countries have wide and overlapping interests in the vast, melting and resource-rich Arctic region, it is in everybody's interest to co-operate and advance a co-operative agenda on those challenges, the official added.

The logo for this year's theme for the Actic Council appears on a television at a welcoming ceremony to kick off Arctic Council event in Fairbanks, Alaska, on Wednesday, May 10, 2017.

But we have 700,000 U.S. citizens living in Alaska and the U.S. Arctic and they have very real concerns, ones that surpass climate change as well; like day-to-day issues of mental health and economic well-being. After pledging to "cancel" the agreement during his campaign, Trump has now softened his tone, noting that he had an open mind about the global agreement to limit the effects of climate change.

Tillerson signed the document. "We're going to work to make the right decision for the United States". In Fairbanks, they will focus on the Arctic region.

"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 worst-case scenario feared by some would be that Tillerson used this gathering to announce the USA would withdraw from the Paris Agreement. "Their achievements, most notably the GLACIER Conference and the initiatives that followed, constituted a considerable leap forward in America's commitments to Alaska, to the Arctic and to the Council".

Cooperation within the Arctic Council has not stopped Moscow and Washington from hurling mounting accusations at each other about attempts to militarize the region.

The United State chaired the council for the last two years and turned the chairmanship over to Finland on Thursday.

And Arctic cooperation is familiar ground for Tillerson, a former ExxonMobil chief executive who once negotiated oil deals in northern waters with Russia's President Vladimir Putin.

Prior to departing from Washington, D.C., our U.S. Senators offered the following statements regarding this year's Arctic Council Ministerial Meeting, taking place tomorrow, May 11th.

But she made clear it was important for all Arctic Council countries, including the US, to acknowledge the Paris accord and the importance of fighting climate change.

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