What Obama’s Arctic visit might mean for Paris

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U.S. President Barack Obama is greeted by Mayor Maija Lukin, right, and Northwest Arctic Borough Mayor Reggie Joule, left, as he arrives at Ralph Wien Memorial Airport, Wednesday, Sept. 2, 2015, in Kotzebue, Alaska. Many experts see Obama's visit as important foreshadowing for the UN climate summit in Paris later this year.(Andrew Harnik/ AP)
U.S. President Barack Obama is greeted by Mayor Maija Lukin, right, and Northwest Arctic Borough Mayor Reggie Joule, left, as he arrives at Ralph Wien Memorial Airport, Wednesday, Sept. 2, 2015, in Kotzebue, Alaska. Many experts see Obama’s visit as important foreshadowing for the UN climate summit in Paris later this year.(Andrew Harnik/ AP)
All eyes were on the U.S. state of Alaska last week, where a major Arctic conference was underway.

The international event was called Global Leadership in the Arctic: Cooperation, Innovation, Engagement and Resilience, or GLACIER for short.

It included foreign ministers from around the world along with scientists , indigenous leaders and policy makers form other Arctic regions.

The event was capped with a major climate speech by U.S. President Barack Obama,  who also spent time talking to local indigenous leaders and travelling to areas of the state already feeling the effects of the changing environment.

There’s been an enormous amount of commentary about the conference, Obama’s Arctic visit and how all this could shape discussions in the run up to the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris later on this year.

Feature Interview
Victoria Herrmann, the U.S. director at the Arctic Institute Center for Circumpolar Security Studies. (Courtesy Victoria Herrmann)
Victoria Herrmann, the U.S. director at the Arctic Institute Center for Circumpolar Security Studies. (Courtesy Victoria Herrmann)

To to help us make sense of some of these issues, Arctic expert Victoria Herrmann, the U.S. director at The Arctic Institute Center for Circumpolar Security Studies, an independent think-tank, joined Eye on the Arctic on the phone after the conference was over:

Related stories from around the North:

Asia:  Asia ahead on preparing for polar climate change, says U.S. Arctic rep, Eye on the Arctic

Canada: The Arctic Council – What was accomplished and where we go from here, Eye on the Arctic

China: China’s silk road plans could challenge Northern Sea Route, Blog by Mia Bennett

Denmark:  The return of the Arctic Five, Blog by Heather Exner-Pirot

Finland: US seeks Finnish support for Arctic goals, Yle News

Norway:  China eyes Arctic Norway infrastructure projects, Barents Observer

Russia:  The Arctic Council’s Immunity to Crimean Flu, Blog by Heather Exner-Pirot

Sweden:   Arctic Council – From looking out to looking in, Blog by Mia Bennett, Cryopolitics

United States:  Obama leaves Arctic, what comes next?, Alaska Dispatch News

 

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Eilís Quinn, Eye on the Arctic

Eilís Quinn, Eye on the Arctic

Eilís Quinn is a journalist and manages Radio Canada International’s Eye on the Arctic news cooperation project.

Eilís has reported from the Arctic regions of all eight circumpolar countries and has produced numerous documentary and multimedia series about climate change and the issues facing Indigenous peoples in the North.

Her investigative report "Death in the Arctic: A community grieves, a father fights for change," about the violent death of Robert Adams, a 19-year-old Inuk man from Arctic Quebec, received an honourable mention for excellence in reporting on violence and trauma at the 2019 Dart Awards in New York City.

Her multimedia project on the health challenges in the Canadian Arctic, "Bridging the Divide," was a finalist at the 2012 Webby Awards.

Eilís has worked for media organizations in Canada and the United States and as a TV host for the Discovery/BBC Worldwide series "Best in China."

Twitter: @Arctic_EQ

Email: eilis.quinn(at)cbc.ca

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