Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Thursday the Trump administration was in no rush to determine how to approach the issue of climate change, but would “make the right decision for the United States.”
He also assured other nations with territory lying within the Arctic Circle that the U.S. was taking time to understand their concerns on the matter.
“In the United States we are currently reviewing several important policies, including how the Trump administration will approach the issue of climate change,” Tillerson told fellow members of the Arctic Council, meeting in Fairbanks, Alaska.
“We are appreciative that each of you has an important point of view, and you should know that we are taking the time to understand your concerns,” he said.
“We’re not going to rush to make a decision,” he said. “We’re going to work to make the right decision for the United States. The Arctic Council will continue to be an important platform as we deliberate on these issues.”
For the past two years the U.S. has held the rotating chairmanship of the Arctic Council, whose other seven members are Canada, Russia, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Sweden and Norway. Finland will now assume the chair.
Uncertainty over how President Trump’s proposed climate policy changes may affect the work of the Arctic Council has hung over the meeting in Fairbanks.
Campaigning for the presidency, Trump promised to reverse Obama administration climate regulations aimed at curbing emissions of “greenhouse gases” blamed for climate change, with a goal of 26 to 28 percent reductions by 2025 – a process Trump has already begun
Trump also pledged to withdraw from the Paris climate agreement and to “cancel billions in global warming payments to the United Nations.”
A presidential decision on the future of the U.S. participation in the Paris accord is expected “sometime over the next couple of weeks,” the State Department’s assistant secretary for oceans and international environmental and scientific affairs, David Balton, told reporters before the meeting in Fairbanks began.