Arctic Yearbook 2015 - Page 95

95 Arctic Yearbook 2015 The paradox in Arctic policy-making: U.S. The initial plan for developing Arctic renewable energy sources stemmed from the joint Arctic Council chairmanship agenda led by Norway, Denmark and Sweden, who together identified climate change as a Council priority (Hossain, Koivurova, & Zojer 2009: 69). Thus when U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry (2015) addressed the 2015 Arctic Council Iqaluit Ministerial Meeting his message appeared to convey that U.S. intentions were to move in this direction: “If we got the whole world to embrace clean energy choices rapidly, we can meet our two-degree target…. So it is essential, especially in the Arctic, to provide affordable, reliable energy that is needed here.” Indeed, as an instrument of foreign policy the environmental NGO community lauded Kerry for taking a stand on Arctic warming (Kelly 2015). Coming at the heels of U.S.-China Joint Announcement on Climate Change (White House 2014b) these utterances could be interpreted as a shift in U.S. climate change policy. Yet, less than a month later, the Obama administration conditionally approved Shell’s plans to resume offshore exploratory drilling in the Chukchi Sea (Davenport 2015). Notably media coverage on the decision was extensive, far more plentiful than it was of Kerry’s Iqaluit speech. Most coverage was purely reportorial, but others expressed indignation. “The idea that importing oil is ‘bad for our people’ is populist pandering,” argued Mia Bennett (2015): BOEM’s [Bureau of Ocean Energy Management] decision also makes the U.S. appear hypocritical as Arctic Council chair given all its talk about F