Nunatsiaq Online
NEWS: Around the Arctic October 19, 2012 - 10:36 am

U.S. eyes Arctic for future energy needs

“The melting icecaps are opening new drilling opportunities as well as new maritime routes"

NUNATSIAQ NEWS
Greenland's premier, Kuupik Kleist (right) with Denmark's foreign minister, Lena Espersen, Hillary Clinton, the U.S. Secretary of State, and Ken Salazar, the U.S. Secretary of the Interior, in May 2011 in Nuuk after foreign ministers from the Arctic Council's member nations met for supper and walked around the old section of Greenland's capital city. (FILE PHOTO)
Greenland's premier, Kuupik Kleist (right) with Denmark's foreign minister, Lena Espersen, Hillary Clinton, the U.S. Secretary of State, and Ken Salazar, the U.S. Secretary of the Interior, in May 2011 in Nuuk after foreign ministers from the Arctic Council's member nations met for supper and walked around the old section of Greenland's capital city. (FILE PHOTO)

We’re in living in a “moment of profound change,” U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Oct. 18 during a speaking engagement at Georgetown University in Washington D.C., where she discussed Arctic environmental and resource issues.

And her message was that the U.S. wishes to avoid conflict over Arctic resources and to protect the Arctic environment.

Clinton said that for the U.S., access to energy is “a matter of national security and global stability.”

“It’s at the heart of the global economy. It’s also an issue of democracy and human rights,” she said.

U.S. energy diplomacy is now focused on “remote areas” like the Arctic, Clinton said, calling the Arctic “a frontier of unexplored oil and gas deposits, and a potential environmental catastrophe.”

“The melting icecaps are opening new drilling opportunities as well as new maritime routes, so it’s critical that we now act to set rules of the road to avoid conflict over those resources, and protect the Arctic’s fragile ecosystem,” Clinton said.

Part of the U.S. strategy involves strengthening the Arctic Council, which includes all eight Arctic nations, including the U.S, “so it can promote effective cooperation,” she said.

The U.S, wants to cooperate more with is neighbors on expanding access to electricity because “energy in all its complexity will continue to be one of the defining issues of the 21st century.”

“And we are reshaping our foreign policy to reflect that,” she said.

Clinton said that countries that once were not major consumers of energy are now major consumers, and countries that used to depend on others for their energy supplies are now producers.

“How will this shape world events? Who will benefit, and who will not? How will it affect the climate, people’s economic conditions, the strength of young democracies? All of this is still unknown,” she said.

“The answers to these questions are being written right now, and we intend to play a major role in writing them. We have no choice. We have to be involved everywhere in the world. The future security and prosperity of our nation and the rest of the world hangs in the balance.”

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