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Washington D.C., May 7, 2019 – In response to the Ministerial Meeting ending without a Joint Declaration for the first time in nearly 25 years Malte Humpert, The Arctic Institute’s Founder and a Senior Fellow, stated: “The politics of the Trump administration have undoubtedly arrived in the Arctic and present a serious challenge to the cooperative nature and work of the Arctic Council. While one may have hoped that the Arctic could be shielded from this administration’s policies, this is clearly not the case. The politics of Trump have arrived in the region with the aim to ‘Make the Arctic Great Again’.”
“Instead of actionable consensus declarations the Arctic Council is now clearly split as the statement by the Finish chairman indicates. The Trump administration’s denial of climate change has directly affected this Ministerial Meeting and lead to this outcome,” Humpert continued.
“It remains to be seen how this turn of events will affect the future work of the Council. This is especially relevant as countries like Russia and China would likely not be opposed to a weaker Arctic Council and would seek out opportunities to moving discussions about the future of the region to some other international forum where they are less bound or constricted by the existing framework. In that sense, the US’ actions today may prove to be counterproductive as a weaker Arctic Council can not be in the interest of the US,” Humpert concluded.
The Arctic Institute’s President and Managing Director, Dr. Victoria Herrmann, explained: “The Trump Administration’s willful negligence of climate change impacts on the lives of America’s northernmost citizens is a far greater threat to our national interests than Chinese and Russian ambitions in the region combined.”
She further added: “Such aggressive behavior by the U.S. is not only a national embarrassment in an international forum known for its steadfast cooperation; it also puts the Arctic Council on a course of dangerous uncertainty without a mandate for addressing the region’s most perilous challenge.”
“Ultimately, the seven other Arctic nation states will move forward to act on climate change without the U.S. Canada, Iceland, Denmark, Norway, Finland, Sweden, and even Russia will commit resources for resilient infrastructure and adaptation to ensure the safety of their Arctic residents from the impacts we can no longer avoid,” Herrmann concluded.