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US ‘pushed to have climate change removed’ from international Arctic policy statement

The statement will be non-binding, and is expected to be made public soon

Clark Mindock
New York
Thursday 02 May 2019 20:27 BST
(Lev Fedoseyev/TASS)

During negotiations on an international statement on Arctic policy, the United States pushed to remove references to “climate change” from the document — a position that threatened to spark a standoff between the US and other Arctic nations, a new report says.

The US pushed to have references to “climate change” and the Paris climate treaty moved from the policy statement, which is created by the eight Arctic nations in a meeting that occurs every eight years.

The push to remove the language, in the beginning, lead contention among the negotiators, even though the statement itself is non-binding.

The US “indicated its resistance to any mention of climate change whatsoever,” one official told The Washington Post, which first reported on the the effort.

“There have been challenges in the negotiations with the United States,” another official told that paper, noting that the US position has appeared to soften in recent days.

“At one point they wanted to remove the expression ‘climate change’ and blocked references of the Paris agreement and other international agreements in the language. But the dialogue has improved during the last couple of days,” the official continued.

An email sent to the State Department seeking comment on the Washington Post’s report was not returned.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is expected to travel to Finland for a two-day session with the Arctic Council, where he will be joined by foreign minister for Russia, Canada, and Nordic nations in the group.

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The State Department is in charge of America’s involvement in the council, which was formed in 1996.

The US government has been hostile to the idea of mitigating the causes of climate change since Donald Trump became president, and has pushed for an expansion in offshore drilling, and for the removal of regulations that impact fossil fuel burning and greenhouse gas emissions.

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