Climate change missing as US defends Arctic policy

Share

The United States is beefing up its presence in the Arctic to keep Russia's and China's "aggressive" behavior in check in the resource-rich region, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has said.

The topic of alleged Russian interference in the US elections was not raised by US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo at today's meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, a diplomatic source told TASS on Monday. "There are others that threaten to use it in ways that are not consistent with the rule of law".

Critics were likely to seize on the speech for being short on scientific specifics, not using the phrase "climate change", offering no ideas on mitigating its effects and focusing nearly entirely on how to responsibly tap the Arctic in an era of fierce global rivalries.

"We are hosting military exercises, strengthening our force presence, rebuilding our icebreaker fleet, expanding Coast Guard funding, and creating a new senior military post for Arctic Affairs inside our own military", said Pompeo after arriving in Rovaniemi, Finland, for a meeting of the Arctic Council.

The Obama administration viewed the Arctic Council as a venue for talking about the dangers of climate change.

He also said the Kremlin's attempts to expand its military in the region could lead to territorial conflicts.

The Pentagon has been expressing concern about Russian Federation and China expanding their activities in the Arctic as polar ice diminishes and opens new channels to explore natural resources and add shipping lanes.

The Arctic Council consists of the United States, Canada, Russia, Finland, Norway, Denmark, Sweden and Iceland. He rejected China's assertion that it is a "near-Arctic nation". "No third category exists", said Pompeo during his speech in Finland Monday.

More news: ‘Game Of Thrones’ Coffee Cup Gaffe Goes Viral
More news: Nick Jonas & Priyanka Chopra Were Wonderfully Whimsical at the Met Gala
More news: Frank Lampard delighted as Derby County claim final play-off spot

He said the pattern of Chinese investment in other parts of the world suggests that indigenous communities in the Arctic could become ensnared by debt and corruption, shoddy infrastructure, militarization and economic destruction.

Countries have been scrambling to claim territory or, like China, boost their presence in the region as thawing ice raises the possibility of exploiting much of the world's remaining undiscovered reserves of oil and gas, plus huge deposits of minerals such as zinc, iron and rare earth metals.

"We're concerned about Russia's claim over the worldwide waters of the Northern Sea Route, including its newly announced plans to connect it with China's Maritime Silk Road", he said.

Byers says the federal government should be anxious that the top diplomat from one of its key Arctic allies got his facts so wrong. In less than five years, Russian Federation has renovated Cold-War era military bases in the region and constructed 475 new military sites, Pompeo said.

Meanwhile, Pompeo also reiterated USA claims to be "the world's leader in caring for the environment", saying it would take the lead in the Arctic as well. "On the one hand, he can warn".

Pompeo accused Russia of breaking maritime laws by requiring foreign ships traveling through worldwide waters in the Arctic to ask for permission before proceeding and demands that Russian maritime pilots be present aboard transiting vessels.

"Just because the Arctic is the place of wilderness does not mean that it should become the place of lawlessness", Pompeo added.

Despite Pompeo's warnings and defense of US positions, many council members and observers are equally alarmed by the Trump administration's environmental policies and skepticism of climate change.

Share