In response to Secretary of State John Kerry beginning his two-year chairmanship of the Arctic Council, World Wildlife Fund (WWF) issued the following statement from Margaret Williams, managing director of Arctic programs:
“As Arctic ecosystems unravel from the impacts of climate change, the Arctic is at a crossroads: we can allow it to become an all-out race for resources or make it a model of stewardship and sustainability. No other place on the planet offers this stark choice and unique opportunity.
“We are on the cusp of a 21st century gold rush for Arctic resources. The drive to tap offshore oil and gas reserves, the emergence of polar shipping routes, and the push to claim previously untouched lands are driving development pressures like never before.
“Secretary Kerry’s leadership of the Arctic Council can demonstrate to international leaders that the US has the political courage to take the bold steps needed to wisely manage and conserve the region, its resources, and its wildlife, while ensuring the livelihoods of the four million people that call the Arctic their home.”
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