Oct 26, 2019

Deadly Blow To The North Pole: USA Did Not Want To Sign Climate Change Agreement

The Trump government's insistence on not recognizing the threat exposes the region and its inhabitants to dramatic problems.

For the first time in two decades, the countries of the Arctic Council, meeting in Rovaniemi (Finland), failed to draft their traditional final declaration. According to some delegates, this was due to the refusal of the United States to refer to climate change.

The indigenous populations represented within the instance, the main affected by climate change, which alters their ancestral ways of life, criticized that failure.

At the end of the 11th Arctic Council ministerial meeting, the usual final common statement was replaced by a shorter text with a smaller symbolic weight, signed by all the ministers of the eight Member States. No reference was made to climate change in that document.

"I do not want to accuse anyone," the head of Finnish diplomacy, Timo Soini, told a news conference. "But, of course, it is clear that climate issues are different depending on the point of view of each country," he added.

Several delegates confirmed to the AFP agency that the lack of joint declaration was directly related to the refusal of the United States to include the climate in the final document.

In the text that could be consensual, of just 25 lines, the eight ministers commit themselves to "maintain peace, stability and constructive cooperation in the Arctic" and to safeguard "the sustainable development and environmental protection" of the region.

In another text of the Finnish presidency, Soini said that "a majority of us consider climate change as a fundamental challenge for the Arctic." A formulation that illustrates the lack of consensus, unusual in the institution.

That majority - whose composition was not specified - "praised" the work program for the implementation of the Paris Climate Agreement, from which the United States intends to withdraw, at the initiative of its President Donald Trump.

It is the first time since its inception in 1996 that the Arctic Council fails to issue a final declaration at the end of its ministerial meetings, of a biennial nature.

The organizations that represent the indigenous populations within the organization expressed their unanimous concern.

"It is attacking our culture and our way of life, and the animals, birds and fish on which our survival depends are increasingly under pressure, and we are concerned about our food security," said James Stotts of the Inuit Circumpolar Council. .
In an editorial published in the British newspaper The Guardian, it is pointed out that the region is one of the most vulnerable to climate change in the world, and warns that the temperature increase of between 3 and 5 degrees Celsius in the area by the middle of 21st century seems inevitable.
"Intensifying competition among the great powers in the Arctic region is a distraction from other more urgent global problems." The members of the Arctic Council should take a stand, tell the United States to recognize the dangers ... or get away from it all. this".

Source: AFP, Télam, The Guardian and The Washington Post

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