The Obama administration on Friday released a national strategy for the Arctic, in advance of Secretary of State John Kerry’s trip next week to Sweden to attend a conference of eight polar nations.
In it, the White House outlines its approach to some key Arctic issues, even as it acknowledges that there are conflicting -- and even contradictory -- goals and challenges in the region as it becomes more accessible because of melting polar ice caused by global warming.
Those challenges include the possibility of additional oil and gas exploration, new fishing territory and increased transit and even tourism. And they come as the U.S. has to grapple with the question of how much the oil and gas exploration will contribute to the very conditions that are opening the Arctic to more exploration.
"Our pioneering spirit is naturally drawn to this region for the economic opportunities it presents and in recognition of the need to protect and conserve this unique, valuable, and changing environment," Obama said in the opening page of the strategy.