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Icebergs near Ilulissat, Greenland. Photo: Ulrik Pedersen/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Secretary of State Antony Blinken is scheduled to travel to Denmark, Iceland and Greenland this weekend to address Arctic policies amid sweeping climate change that is affecting the region.

State of play: While in Reykjavik, Iceland, Blinken will attend the ministerial meeting of the Arctic Council, an organization created 25 years ago to foster cooperation among the eight Arctic nations at a time when Russia has been increasingly aggressive in building up its military presence in the region.

The big picture: The Arctic is warming at more than twice the rate of the rest of the planet, and the Greenland ice sheet is melting, adding to sea-level rise.

  • Thinning sea ice cover in the Arctic Ocean is allowing for easier access to the far north.
  • Countries that don't physically border the Arctic Circle, such as China and South Korea, have sought to have a greater voice within the Council.
  • Blinken will be just the fourth secretary of state to visit Greenland, according to the State Department website.

Of note: Blinken's presence at the ministerial meeting will mark somewhat of a control-alt-delete moment compared to the Trump administration's approach to the Arctic. President Donald Trump infamously sought to buy Greenland from Denmark. This offer was dismissed out of hand by the country's prime minister.

  • At his final Arctic Council ministerial meeting, then-Secretary of State Mike Pompeo gave a speech that was harshly critical of China and Russia and portrayed climate change as an economic opportunity rather than a danger.
  • In addition to their shipping interests, China has targeted Greenland as a possible location for mining rare Earth minerals. Partly in response to China's investments, last year the U.S. opened a consulate in Greenland's capital city of Nuuk.

The bottom line: As the Arctic warms further and the region heads for a seasonally ice-free Arctic Ocean by the middle of the century, geopolitical competition is clearly on the increase in the region.

Go deeper

1 hour ago - World

Brazil senators vote to recommend criminal charges for Bolsonaro

Brazilian senators vote on probe into President Bolsonaro's handling of pandemic. Photo: Gustavo Minas/Bloomberg via Getty Images

A Brazilian Senate committee Tuesday voted to approve a report recommending President Jair Bolsonaro be charged with a raft of criminal indictments, including crimes against humanity over his response to the COVID-19 pandemic, per AP.

Why it matters: Bolsonaro has become the face of a right-wing approach to the pandemic that includes repudiating vaccines and masks and resisting lockdowns and other mitigation measures. The Senate report holds him personally responsible for half of the country's 600,000 deaths.

Former Georgetown tennis coach pleads guilty to accepting admissions bribes

Gordon Ernst (left) former head tennis coach at Georgetown, outside a courthouse in Boston in 2019. Photo: Jessica Rinaldi/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

A former Georgetown University head tennis coach has pleaded guilty Tuesday to bribery charges related to facilitating the admission of prospective applicants.

Why it matters: Gordon Ernst solicited and accepted bribes from William Singer, ringleader of the cheating scheme uncovered by Operation Varsity Blues, and families in exchange for helping prospective applicants get into Georgetown as student athletes, according to the Justice Department.

5 hours ago - Health

CDC says some immunocompromised people can get fourth COVID shot

Photo: Noriko Hayashi/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in updated guidelines Tuesday that some immunocompromised people who have received either Pfizer or Moderna's COVID-19 vaccines will be able to get a fourth shot.

Details: People over 18 who are "moderately to severely immunocompromised" and have received three doses of an mRNA vaccine may get a fourth shot (of either the Pfizer, Moderna, or Johnson & Johnson vaccines) at least six months after getting their third Pfizer or Moderna dose, per the CDC.