Yesterday U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson Chaired the 10th Arctic Council Ministerial Meeting in Fairbanks, Alaska along with representatives for eight Arctic States that was aimed at reviewing and approving work to improve sustainable development and environmental protection in the Arctic.
Secretary Tillerson said that the United States was privileged to lead the Arctic Council at a time when the Arctic Region has been facing unprecedented change and challenges.
According to the National Snow and Ice Data Center, Arctic sea ice extent for April 2017 tied with April 2016 for the lowest April extent in the 38-year satellite record.
Arctic sea ice keeps the polar region cold and helps to moderate the global climate.
The National Snow and Ice Data Center reported that 80 percent of the sunlight that strikes sea ice is reflected back into space.
But during the warmer summer months, as the earth heats up and sea ice melts, instead of reflecting 80 percent of the sunlight back into space, the ocean absorbs 90 percent of the sunlight.
The oceans heat up, and Arctic temperatures rise further.
According to scientific measurements, the thickness and extent of summer sea ice in the Arctic have revealed a sharp decline over the past thirty years.
The loss of sea ice has the potential to accelerate global warming trends in the future.
During the Arctic Council Ministerial Meeting in Fairbanks, Secretary of State Tillerson said that the U.S. is currently reviewing several important policies, including how the Trump administration will approach the issue of climate change.
President Trump once called climate change a hoax invented by the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive.
And, yes, he even tweeted that in 2012.
The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 6, 2012
President Trump hasn’t repeated the hoax conspiracy theory since he’s occupied the White House and even claimed to having an “open mind” about climate change during a November 22nd interview with the New York Times.
But he has given more support to the fossil fuel industry compared to former President Obama and has spoken about bringing coal jobs back.
President Trump has delayed a decision about withdrawing from the historic Paris Climate Agreement that is aimed at coordinating the global response to the threat of climate change by keeping a global temperature rise this century well below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels while pursuing efforts to limit the temperature increase even further to 1.5 degrees Celsius.
During the Council meeting yesterday in Fairbanks, Alaska Secretary Tillerson admitted that the U.S. won’t rush to make a decision about climate change and noted, “We’re going to work to make the right decision for the United States.”
At the Council meeting yesterday, Secretary Tillerson announced the signing of the Agreement on Enhancing International Arctic Scientific Cooperation by Canada, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Russia, Sweden, and the United States which improves access by scientists of the eight Arctic States to Arctic areas that each State has identified.
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