Officials from Arctic nations meet amid drilling concerns


Bill Erasmus of the global Arctic Athabaskan Council, which represents indigenous Athabascan governments in the US and Canada, said climate change and economic stability were the most important issues in the region.

Some climate scientists here in Alaska say they are pleasantly surprised by the relatively tough language on climate change adopted by all eight Arctic Council nations including the United States.

Media projections of geopolitical tensions at today's Ministerial Meeting of the eight member states of the Arctic Council in Fairbanks, Alaska were once again proven wrong.

"The United States has worked hard to advance the Arctic Council and we celebrate the success of their chairmanship" offered Nancy Karetak-Lindell, ICC Canada President.

"We'd heard. that there would likely be a significant USA effort to redline or even remove entirely the Paris and climate language", said the source, speaking on condition of anonymity.

The Canadian foreign minister thanked the USA delegation for signing the document today.

In the official declaration, the council says its actions are "recognizing that activities taking place outside the Arctic region, including activities occurring in Arctic States, are the main contributors to climate change effects and pollution in the Arctic, and underlining the need for action at all levels".

"He was happy about it; he seemed to be satisfied".

Tillerson arrived late Wednesday afternoon in Fairbanks. "We the tribes ask you to listen to our land".

"Of course we would be disappointed", he told the New York Times.

Sources told CNN that Trump is increasingly unsure how withdrawing from the Paris climate accord would affect the United States, both legally and in its dealings with foreign leaders - several whom are actively lobbying the administration to stay in the deal.

"We are unsure what the Trump administration thinks about the Arctic region in general, about the Arctic Council in particular and about its role", said Victoria Herrmann, president of The Arctic Institute, a Washington, D.C. -based group that provides research to shape Arctic policy.

"We are appreciative that each of you has an important point of view", Tillerson said.

Tillerson sought to reassure the worldwide Arctic community, saying "we're not going to rush" to make a decision, but that the American government would make "the right decision for the United States". However, he said that Washington will take its time to make the right decision on the issue.

Following the meeting, Tillerson, the former chief executive of energy giant Exxon Mobil, will hand over the chairmanship of the council to Finland, which plans to stress the Paris pact as it leads the council over the next two years.

It also improved living conditions and economies for those living in the Arctic.

A presidential decision on the future of the USA participation in the Paris accord is expected "sometime over the next couple of weeks", the State Department's assistant secretary for oceans and worldwide environmental and scientific affairs, David Balton, told reporters before the meeting in Fairbanks began.

David Balton, a deputy assistant secretary of State, said other accomplishments included an agreement for scientific cooperation among Arctic nations, an assessment of improvements needed for better telecommunications, and implementation of a database of ships passing through the Arctic.

The Trump Administration has already reversed Obama-era bans on offshore drilling in certain parts of the Arctic, a turn that could intensify competition for resources in the region with major oil producer Russian Federation.