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U.S. Vows To Remain 'Engaged' In Arctic Council Work On Climate Change

Melting ice in the Arctic sea

The United States will remain engaged in the Arctic Council's work on climate change even as the White House reviews whether to withdraw from the Paris climate change agreement, a top U.S. official said on May 8.

The Arctic is the global region experiencing the fastest rate of warming. Washington will continue to participate in the council's climate research, in particular, said State Department Assistant Secretary David Balton.

"The U.S. will remain engaged in the work the Arctic Council does on climate change throughout," he said. "I am very confident there will be no change in that regard."

But White House advisers will meet on May 9 to discuss whether to honor U.S. President Donald Trump's campaign pledge to withdraw from or renegotiate the 2015 Paris accord signed by former President Barack Obama and nearly 200 other nations.

Trump's top advisers are divided on the matter. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson -- who is hosting this week's meeting with Russia, Canada, and other members of the Arctic Council in Fairbanks, Alaska -- supports staying in the deal.

But Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt, who is charged with carrying out the climate pact, calls it "a bad deal for America" that will cost U.S. jobs.

Based on reporting by AP and Reuters