Opening stage

By Joren Selleslaghs

The Arctic has always experienced cooling and warming processes, but today’s melt is unprecedented[1]. Various scholars label the current melt as “dramatic, abrupt and directly correlated with industrial emission of greenhouse gases” and fear that the Arctic will become a second Baltic Sea: covered by only a thin layer of seasonal ice in the winter but mostly ice-free[2].

When this occurs, the Arctic will be at the centre of geopolitics, as various countries will have commercial, environmental as well as military and geo-strategic interests to defend, unavoidably leading to various security implications for Europe.

Towards a more perfect council

By Kevin McGwin

A year from now, a new country (Finland) will take over the chairmanship of the Arctic Council. Only at that point is likely that David Balton, the American diplomat currently leading the organisation, will be ready to identify what the it has accomplished on Washington’s watch.

“A lot our projects are designed to come to fruition about a year from now,” Mr Balton said during a press conference in Fairbanks, Alaska, today. (See video below.)

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Arctic Council meeting ends, climate change among topics

by Tim Ellis, KUAC – Fairbanks

A contingent of senior Arctic Council officials wrapped up a three-day meeting at the University of Alaska Fairbanks Thursday. And Friday morning, the U.S. chairman of the group reported on their deliberations, much of which dealt with the impact of climate change on the Arctic and how to adapt to it.

U.S. Ambassador David Balton says on the final day of the Senior Arctic Officials’ meeting, he challenged participants to break out of what tends to be a short-term mindset that comes with the two-year chairmanship of the Arctic Council, the organization that represents the interests of the eight circumpolar nations and other groups, such as the region’s indigenous peoples.

US, Canada tackle climate

by Gary Park

Greater protection of Arctic regions against oil and gas exploration and drastic reduction of methane emissions from petroleum industry operations figure large in an agreement by the United States and Canada.

Getting ahead of formal discussions at the White House between President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, the two countries launched joint efforts to tackle climate change in the Arctic and wage a bilateral campaign to slash methane emissions by 40 percent-45 percent below 2012 levels over the next decade.

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Arctic policy decisions must be ‘based on facts’

by Robin Wood

FAIRBANKS—Officials at the Arctic Science Summit Week being held at the University of Alaska Fairbanks have no trouble listing the far-reaching areas Arctic policy must address or on what to base those policies, but they say determining and implementing specific policies is difficult in a rapidly changing environment.

Resource development, environmental protection, subsistence use, monitoring, increased shipping, enhanced mapping and tsunami and earthquake response are all areas identified as needing enhanced Arctic policies.

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Newfound interest in Arctic may mean more crowded council meetings

For much of the world, the Arctic used to be overlooked territory, dismissed as an icy and remote wasteland.

If applications for Arctic Council recognition are any indication, that is no longer the case.

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Inuit Circumpolar Council Salutes the Canada-USA Statement on Arctic Cooperation

Friday March 11, 2016 – The Inuit Circumpolar Council (ICC) applauds the joint statement released by the United States and Canadian governments on Arctic cooperation. In particular, ICC appreciates the attention given to issues related to climate change, renewable energy needs, shipping safety and impacts, Arctic fisheries, Indigenous Knowledge, the importance of Indigenous Peoples of the Arctic and the need for knowledge based decision-making. Yesterday’s announcement shows strong leadership that the Obama and Trudeau Administrations offer, and the required bi-lateral approach needed to address the many concerns facing our world today.

Arctic deal a path for full Inuit participation in the northern economy

From: The Globe & Mail

Mary Simon, Mary Simon is a former Canadian ambassador for circumpolar affairs and represented Canada on the Arctic Council.

The Arctic partnership announced Thursday by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and President Barack Obama in Washington affords Canada the opportunity to show real leadership on climate-change initiatives and build a northern economy that secures Inuit participation.

Alaska pushes back on Arctic plan with Canada

From: Alaska Journal of Commerce

By: Elwood Brehmer

Alaska’s leaders in Juneau and Congress had harsh words for a joint March 10 statement from the White House and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announcing plans for new emissions caps on the oil and gas industry and preservation of significant chunks territory in each country’s Arctic.

The statement was released as Trudeau made the first official visit by a Canadian prime minister to the White House in nearly two decades.

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Canada and US leaders commit to new goals for Arctic protection

In a joint statement today, the president of the United States and the prime minister of Canada agreed to several initiatives to advance Arctic conservation. The plan includes the establishment of protected areas. Their statement says “…we will work directly with Indigenous partners, state, territorial and provincial governments to establish this year a new, ambitious conservation goal for the Arctic based on the best available climate science and knowledge, Indigenous and non-Indigenous alike. We will also play a leadership role in engaging all Arctic nations to develop a pan-Arctic marine protection area network.”