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Ocean Reflections

reflectionsA look back at what's been happening

US’s new climate change stance spotlighted at Arctic Council Ministerial

Amid high media scrutiny and the backdrop of the recent announcement by the Trump administration that it is lifting the oil drilling ban in the Arctic and Atlantic, the new US secretary of State and ex-Exxon boss Rex Tillerson handed over the Charimanship reins to Finland at the Arctic Council Ministerial meeting in Fairbanks. Although there was no announcement that the US were pulling out of the Paris Agreement (yet), a leaked draft revealed that the US had pushed hard to water down climate change references in the Fairbanks Declaration.

At the meeting Tillerson cautioned that the US is reviewing several important policies, including climate change, and that it won’t be rushed into a decision. Maybe analysis from a new report that found meeting the goals of the Paris Agreement would cut sea level rise by over 20cm globally, saving trillions of dollars of potential damage to infrastructure, will help the new Administration make the right decision.

The meeting also adopted a 3rd binding agreement on enhancing Arctic scientific cooperation, agreed to deliver a long-term strategic plan for the Council by 2019, and announced the launch of a new Arctic shipping database. Seven new observers were welcomed to the Council.

WWF released its scorecard on how well Arctic Council countries have been implementing their commitments relating to biodiversity and conservation. As might be expected there were no "straight-A students" – while some countries have been making some progress, national implementation has generally been poor. The scorecard will be updated every 2 years.

The first meeting of Senior Arctic Officials during the Finnish Chairmanship will take place in late October 2017 in Oulu, Finland.

US’s new climate change stance spotlighted at Arctic Council Ministerial

Amid high media scrutiny and the backdrop of the recent announcement by the Trump administration that it is lifting the oil drilling ban in the Arctic and Atlantic, the new US secretary of State and ex-Exxon boss Rex Tillerson handed over the Charimanship reins to Finland at the Arctic Council Ministerial meeting in Fairbanks. Although there was no announcement that the US were pulling out of the Paris Agreement (yet), a leaked draft revealed that the US had pushed hard to water down climate change references in the Fairbanks Declaration.

At the meeting Tillerson cautioned that the US is reviewing several important policies, including climate change, and that it won’t be rushed into a decision. Maybe analysis from a new report that found meeting the goals of the Paris Agreement would cut sea level rise by over 20cm globally, saving trillions of dollars of potential damage to infrastructure, will help the new Administration make the right decision.

The meeting also adopted a 3rd binding agreement on enhancing Arctic scientific cooperation, agreed to deliver a long-term strategic plan for the Council by 2019, and announced the launch of a new Arctic shipping database. Seven new observers were welcomed to the Council.

WWF released its scorecard on how well Arctic Council countries have been implementing their commitments relating to biodiversity and conservation. As might be expected there were no "straight-A students" – while some countries have been making some progress, national implementation has generally been poor. The scorecard will be updated every 2 years.

The first meeting of Senior Arctic Officials during the Finnish Chairmanship will take place in late October 2017 in Oulu, Finland.