Published: Fri, May 12, 2017
World | By Paul Elliott

Tillerson: Trump will not rush USA climate policy review

Among those expected to attend the meeting of the Arctic Council beginning Thursday in Fairbanks are U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, who met Wednesday with Trump and Tillerson in Washington. But it did not recommit the members, including the United States, to meeting the accord's emissions reduction pledges.

"[The Inuit Circumpolar Council] applauds the Finnish chairmanship's prioritizing the importance of implementing the Paris climate change agreement and United Nations' sustainable development goals", said Canada's Okalik Eegeesiak, worldwide chair of the ICC, which represents Inuit in Russia, Alaska, Canada and Greenland.

His administration has aggressively begun trying to dismantle numerous climate policies created under the Obama administration, including federal rules to phase out coal-fired power plants, increase restrictions on vehicle emissions and limit methane leaks from natural gas production.

The United States chaired the council for the last two years.

While some of Trump's closest aides have urged him to do withdraw from the Paris accord, experts say such a move could stir diplomatic tension with other nations.

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, seated right, and U.S. Sen.

The Fairbanks Declaration does not affirm that the US will honor the Paris accord. Although the logic of the statement insists that human activity is causing climate change, the word "human" is not actually present.

Mr Tillerson, the former chief executive of Exxon Mobil, told the meeting that the administration was reviewing how it would approach climate change.

"We're not going to rush to make a decision. We're going to work to make the right decision for the United States", he said.

A video showed at the meeting before his remarks that was produced by the State Department referred to "ecological change", not climate change.

Moving forward, Finland has vowed to keep fueling the fight against climate change and hopes the USA will choose to keep its commitment.

But in their opening remarks, foreign ministers from the world's eight circumpolar nations confirmed their commitment to keeping the world's geopolitical tensions out of the forum's work, which focuses on environmental issues and sustainable development.

The agreement was negotiated under the auspices of the Arctic Council, and aims to allow scientists and their data "to flow more freely across global boundaries within the Arctic", according to US Deputy Assistant Secretary at the Bureau of Oceans, Environment and Science David Balton.

"Like no other generation before us, we have the knowledge, technology, the money, and the capacity to save our planet", echoed Swedish Foreign Minister, Margot Elisabeth Wallström.

"Then that did not happen, and I think that bodes well for the future", Wallstrom said. "I have sent you no invoices but it is about to change'". The U.S. highlighted three areas during its two-year chairmanship - improved living conditions and economies for those living in the Arctic, stewardship of the Arctic Ocean and climate change. Six worldwide organizations representing Arctic Indigenous Peoples have permanent participant status. High-level officials from the world's eight Arctic n. "The Arctic Council will continue to be an important platform as we deliberate on these issues". "That has remained a very cooperative body".

Arctic nations have approved a document calling for global action to address climate change. It refers to "reiterating the importance of climate science to our understanding of the changing Arctic region and our activities in the Arctic environment". Soini said Arctic resources and transportation routes may attract interest.

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