US Defense to explore climate impacts in the Arctic

US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel speaking at the Halifax International Security Forum, Canada, unveiled the Pentagon’s first Arctic strategy aimed at addressing climate change impacts in the region.

Ice on the Arctic Ocean in 2012 shrank to its lowest levels  since the 1970s, and several studies expect it will vanish in summers by mid-century due to raising temperatures, potentially opening new commercial routes and allowing previously impossible energy explorations.

The US strategy includes updating infrastructures and capabilities “at a pace consistent with changing conditions”, preserving freedom of the seas throughout the region, strengthening regional cooperation with other Arctic countries, including Russia, and working with agencies and institutions, as well as Alaska natives, to protect the environmental integrity of the Arctic.

It also stated to support the development of the Arctic Council and to develop measures to respond to man-made and natural disasters in the region.