President Trump, welcome to the Arctic

The Hill published an article titled, “President Trump, welcome to the Arctic.” The article reads in part as follows;

“U.S. government scientists have just announced that 2016 was the hottest year on record, with a major contribution from the unprecedented warming of the Arctic.  At the same briefing it was also reported that the warming of the Arctic was accompanied by record loss of sea ice and snow cover.

The drama of the unraveling Arctic brings immediate challenges to the Trump administration. In May, the State Department is organizing and hosting a ministerial meeting in Fairbanks, Alaska to conclude the two-year U.S. chairmanship of the Arctic Council. The Arctic Council is the eight-member group of nations bordering the Arctic, and plays a key role in responding to Arctic science and developing appropriate policy. As the chair of the Council, the Secretary of State will be challenged in Fairbanks with the grim reality of a failing Arctic. Moreover, he will have to do so across the table from many of our allies (as well as the Russians), indigenous member groups and observer countries from around the world, all of whom take the global climate issue very seriously.

The Arctic environment is a pillar of the earth’s climate system. Sea ice and snow cover reflect solar energy away from the surface of the earth, acting as the planet’s “air conditioner.” By storing masses of ice in the Greenland ice sheet as well as Canadian and Alaskan glaciers, the Arctic helps to protect coastal cities from flooding, and ultimately inundation, from rising sea levels.

Additionally, frozen permafrost across the Arctic stores twice the carbon content of the atmosphere, preventing an enormous increase to planetary warming that will result from thawing.”

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