Monday, April 06, 2009

Hillary pushes to protect Arctic-Antarctic region's natural environment

Today Hillary delivered opening remarks along side with Norway's Foreign Minister Gahr Stoere at the Joint Session of the Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meeting and the Arctic Council at the State Department.

In her remarks she said that the United States will push for more restrictions on tourism to the North and South Poles to protect the regions' natural environment.

The nearly two-week summit brings together the two diplomatic bodies that govern the Arctic and Antarctic. In her speech, Hillary warned that protecting the region was crucial for reducing global climate change.

"Strengthening environmental regulation is especially important as tourism to Antarctica increases," she said. She also proposed limits on larger ships and increasing safety and environmental regulations.

The gathering, which brings together scientists and government officials from 47 countries and comes as world governments are hoping to reach a new deal to limit global warming by the end of the year.

Clinton said that past agreements on protecting the poles served as a "living example" of governments' ability to work together on environmental issues, and urged similar cooperation in the lead-up to a Copenhagen summit in December.

"As the world prepares for climate talks in Copenhagen this December, meetings like this are more important than ever," Clinton said.

The gathering comes on the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Antarctic Treaty, which designated the poles a peaceful "natural reserve" that could not be used by any governments for military purposes. Read her full remarks here or watch below:

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