Blinken Brings Biden’s Anti-Trump Climate Policy to Iceland

May 18, 2021by Matthew Lee, AP Diplomatic writer
Blinken Brings Biden’s Anti-Trump Climate Policy to Iceland
United States Secretary of State Antony Blinken as he disembarks from his airplane upon arrival at Keflavik Air Base in Iceland, May 17, 2021, his second stop on a 5-day European tour. (Saul Loeb/Pool Photo via AP)

REYKJAVIK, Iceland (AP) — On a trip overshadowed by the crisis in the Middle East, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Tuesday touted the Biden administration’s abrupt shift in its predecessor’s climate policies as he visited Iceland for talks with senior officials from the world’s Arctic nations. 

In Reykjavik for a meeting of foreign ministers of the eight members of the Arctic Council, Blinken heralded President Joe Biden’s return to the Paris climate accord and determination to combat climate change. 

Yet the worsening violence between Israel and the Palestinians hung over the discussions. A small group of pro-Palestinian demonstrators holding banners and flags protested outside the conference center where Blinken met Icelandic Foreign Minister Gudlaugur Thor Thordarson.

“We are very focused on reinvigorating our closest alliances and partnerships, and also our engagement in multilateral institutions, and being here really represents both aspects of that effort,” Blinken told the foreign minister. He lauded Iceland for its strong support for human rights, climate change mitigation and the role it plays in NATO.


The Arctic is warming faster than the rest of the world and has been particularly hard hit by rising sea levels from melting sea ice and glaciers. Former U.S. President Donald Trump had alienated Arctic countries and others with his dismissal of the phenomenon and his withdrawal from the 2015 Paris agreement.


Trump’s former Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, also stunned many in the environmental community at an Arctic Council meeting two years ago in Finland with a call for countries to embrace and harness climate change, particularly the opening of new sea lanes due to melting ice, for commercial gain.

Blinken will tour several Icelandic geo-thermal energy sites later Tuesday before holding a series of bilateral meetings with other Arctic Council foreign ministers on Wednesday. Among them will be Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in what will be the highest-level face-to-face talks between the two countries since Biden took office.

Blinken will see Lavrov amid a sharp deterioration in ties between Washington and Moscow sparked by Russia’s build-up of troops along the border with Ukraine, cyberattacks and allegations that Russia interfered in U.S. presidential elections in 2016 and 2020. The two nations are also at odds over influence in the Arctic, with Russia insisting its large Arctic landmass makes it the pre-eminent power in the region.

Moscow and Washington are also embroiled in a bitter dispute over the status of their respective embassies and consulates after tit-for-tat expulsions this year. Russia has given the U.S. until Aug. 1 to get rid of all non-American staff at its diplomatic missions, something the U.S. says will make it nearly impossible for its facilities to function.


Blinken and Lavrov’s talks will also serve as a preview for an expected summit between Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin next month. 

Senior officials say Biden is interested in testing the proposition that the U.S. and Russia can work collaboratively on certain issues, like climate change, the Mideast, Iran and North Korea, despite bitter disagreements on others.

A+
a-

In The News

Health

Voting

Geopolitics

August 15, 2022
by Kate Michael
Analysts Consider Areas of US-Japan Collaboration for Energy, Environmental Risk Reduction

WASHINGTON — The United States and Japan are two countries known for protecting and promoting leading-edge technologies, but given lessons... Read More

WASHINGTON — The United States and Japan are two countries known for protecting and promoting leading-edge technologies, but given lessons learned over the past few years, “just having innovation is not sufficient,” according to Tatsuya Terazawa, chairman and CEO of the Institute of Energy Economics in... Read More

China Announces New Drills as US Delegation Visits Taiwan

TAIPEI, Taiwan (AP) — China announced more military drills around Taiwan as the self-governing island’s president met with members of... Read More

TAIPEI, Taiwan (AP) — China announced more military drills around Taiwan as the self-governing island’s president met with members of a new U.S. congressional delegation on Monday, threatening to renew tensions between Beijing and Washington after a similar recent visit by U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi angered... Read More

August 11, 2022
by Tom Ramstack
US-Iranian Relations Strained by Alleged Assassination Plot

WASHINGTON — The Justice Department charged an Iranian citizen Wednesday with trying to murder former National Security Advisor John Bolton... Read More

WASHINGTON — The Justice Department charged an Iranian citizen Wednesday with trying to murder former National Security Advisor John Bolton in a dispute once again inflaming tensions between the United States and Iran. The murder-for-hire plot was retaliation for the 2020 U.S. assassination of Islamic Revolutionary... Read More

August 5, 2022
by Tom Ramstack
China Hits Back With Sanctions After Pelosi’s Visit to Taiwan

WASHINGTON — China’s saber-rattling and pushback continued Friday after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., visited Taiwan while the Biden administration... Read More

WASHINGTON — China’s saber-rattling and pushback continued Friday after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., visited Taiwan while the Biden administration pledged not to back down in support of the island nation. China announced it is canceling or suspending cooperation with the United States on climate change,... Read More

August 4, 2022
by Dan McCue
Washington Reacts to ‘Brazen,’ ‘Unacceptable’ Russian Sentence for Brittney Griner

WASHINGTON — Brittney Griner, the American WNBA player who was tried in Russian court for drug smuggling after bringing cannabis... Read More

WASHINGTON — Brittney Griner, the American WNBA player who was tried in Russian court for drug smuggling after bringing cannabis oil into the country, was sentenced to nine years in prison on Thursday, inspiring sharp rebukes in the nation’s capital. “Today, American citizen Brittney Griner received... Read More

US House Speaker Pelosi Arrives in Taiwan, Defying Beijing

TAIPEI, Taiwan (AP) — U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi arrived in Taiwan late Tuesday, becoming the highest-ranking American official in... Read More

TAIPEI, Taiwan (AP) — U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi arrived in Taiwan late Tuesday, becoming the highest-ranking American official in 25 years to visit the self-ruled island claimed by China, which quickly announced that it would conduct military maneuvers in retaliation for her presence. Pelosi arrived... Read More

News From The Well
scroll top