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Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will endorse the joint Arctic Council statement. Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images

The Trump administration objected to climate change references in a planned joint statement for the upcoming international Arctic Council forum, the Washington Post reports.

Why it matters: As one of 8 Arctic nations, the U.S. plays a key role in setting policy for the region, which is warming at more than twice the rate of the rest of the globe. Under President Trump, the U.S. has pursued policies aimed at boosting its production of fossil fuels, which contribute to planet-warming greenhouse gas emissions.

Where it stands: According to member state officials speaking to the Post on the condition of anonymity, the U.S. has softened its position in the past few days on completely removing climate change references from the council's joint statement. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will endorse the final statement.

  • “At one point they wanted to remove the expression ‘climate change’ and blocked references of the Paris agreement and other international agreements in the language. But the dialogue has improved during the last couple of days,” one senior official said.

Asked about the Post story in a background briefing, a State Department official said:

"Climate is a complex global issue and it’s a global challenge all around, and this administration supports a balanced approach that promotes economic growth and improves energy security while protecting the environment. And we talk about that in each forum and we work with our partners to come to agreement on how we express it, but again, more importantly, what action we take to address it."

Go deeper: Alaska is feeling the effects of the Arctic's changing climate

Go deeper

Dave Lawler, author of World
1 hour ago - World

Oxford and AstraZeneca's vaccine won't just go to rich countries

Waiting, in New Delhi. Photo: Jewel Samad/AFP via Getty Images

While the 95% efficacy rates for the Moderna and Pfizer/BioNTech vaccines are great news for the U.S. and Europe, Monday's announcement from Oxford and AstraZeneca may be far more significant for the rest of the world.

Why it matters: Oxford and AstraZeneca plan to distribute their vaccine at cost (around $3-4 per dose), and have already committed to providing over 1 billion doses to the developing world. The price tags are higher for the Pfizer ($20) and Moderna ($32-37) vaccines.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

  1. Vaccines: Key information about the effective COVID-19 vaccines — Oxford University's 90%-effective vaccine.
  2. Health: U.S. coronavirus hospitalizations keep breaking recordsWhy we're numb to 250,000 coronavirus deaths — Americans line up for testing ahead of Thanksgiving.
  3. Travel: Air travel's COVID-created future — Over 1 million U.S. travelers flew on Friday, despite calls to avoid holiday travel.
  4. World: England to impose stricter regional systemU.S. coronavirus hotspots far outpacing Europe's — Portugal to ban domestic travel for national holidays.
  5. Economy: The biggest pandemic labor market drags.
  6. Sports: Coronavirus precautions leave college basketball schedule in flux.

Biden transition names first Cabinet nominees

Biden with John Kerry. Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

President-elect Joe Biden on Monday unveiled his nominations for top national security positions in his administration, tapping former Secretary of State John Kerry as his climate czar and former deputy national security adviser Avril Haines as director of national intelligence.

Why it matters: Haines, if confirmed, would make history as the first woman to oversee the U.S. intelligence community. Biden also plans to nominate Alejandro Mayorkas to become the first Latino secretary of the Department of Homeland Security.