Tillerson to answer climate questions at Arctic Council

President Donald Trump will not rush his review of USA climate change policy and will do what is best for the United States, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Thursday.

President Donald Trump pledged to withdraw the United States from the 2015 Paris climate accord but has yet to make a formal decision.

The Arctic agreement Tillerson signed with foreign ministers from the other seven nations of the council, including Russia, Canada and Norway, made only a passing reference to the Paris Agreement.

Two broad frameworks, Soini said, should be taken into account in all Arctic Council activities: Climate change, especially the Paris Climate Agreement, and sustainable development goals that the United Nations adopted two years ago.

"You should know we are taking the time to understand your concerns".

"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.

Today US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is in Fairbanks, Alaska to attend the Arctic Council's tenth ministerial meeting.

Christina-Alexa Liakos of Greenpeace USA, said her group will watch the meeting with an eye toward US policy on broader environmental issues, such as the Paris Climate Agreement.

For the past two years the US has held the rotating chairmanship of the Arctic Council, whose other seven members are Canada, Russia, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Sweden and Norway.

Though President Donald Trump remains publicly suspicious of the Paris accord, especially with regards to its potential impact on the US economy and American jobs, he has yet to articulate a formal position and some members of his administration are apparently pushing him to abide by the agreement. Tillerson, the former chief executive of Exxon, is among those who have argued that the USA should keep its commitment.

After two years of chairing the council, the US handed the gavel off to Finland.

The White House says that the review of America's commitments to the Paris Climate agreement will be completed this month. President Vladimir Putin defended science deniers in a recent CNBC interview, adding that global warming "brings in more favourable conditions and improves the economic potential of [the Arctic]". She said, however, that the declaration is the latest and best picture of where the Trump administration stands on climate change.

It noted on Thursday the "entry into force" of the Paris pact and its implementation, and called for global action to reduce greenhouse gas pollution.

WALDHOLZ: Despite the uncertainty over American policy, All eight nations agreed to try to reduce emissions of methane and black carbon, major contributors to warming in the Arctic.

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson hands the gavel of the Arctic Council to Finland's foreign minister Timo Soini, marking the transfer of the chairmanship of the Arctic Council to Finland until 2019.

The U.S. began chairing the council two years ago.

"We the tribes ask you to listen to our land", Joseph said, according to Reuters.

In addition, the State Department under Tillerson issued - as directed - an approval for the Keystone XL pipeline, and Tillerson himself is an old oil man, coming to the position after decades at the helm of ExxonMobil. The ministers stressed to Tillerson the business benefits, as well as the advantages to the environment and Arctic natives, and of taking action on the climate, Samuelsen said.

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