U.S. leadership in the Arctic
This April, the United States will assume chairmanship of the Arctic Council for a two-year term. Since the last U.S. chairmanship fifteen years ago, the Arctic has changed dramatically. Melting sea ice has impacted indigenous communities as well as wildlife in significant ways. New Arctic transportation corridors have opened and new prospects for offshore oil and gas development have emerged. The region’s growing strategic, economic, and environmental importance has made U.S. policy toward the Arctic more of a priority than ever before. Recent statements from the White House have emphasized the opportunity for the United States to lead in global efforts to mitigate climate change impacts in the region, govern resources responsibly, and protect Arctic ecosystems and inhabitants.
On March 12, the Energy Security and Climate Initiative (ESCI) at Brookings will host Admiral Robert J. Papp, Jr., the U.S. special representative for the Arctic, for a keynote address on the future of U.S. policy for the region. Deputy Director for Foreign Policy at Brookings Bruce Jones will provide introductory remarks, and ESCI Senior Fellow Charles Ebinger will moderate the discussion and audience Q&A.
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Biden’s overarching message [in an address to the U.N. General Assembly] . . . was that strategic competition with China will not in any way diminish America’s commitment to working with other nations to tackle shared existential threats like climate change and pandemics. [The challenge for the U.S. president is to find a way of tackling shared threats in an era of great power rivalry and nationalism...] He will try to work with China but he also needs a back-up plan if that fails to materialise. Today’s speech was a first step in that direction.