- Associated Press - Friday, September 5, 2014

FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) - A committee that advises NATO on science and technology was briefed Thursday on climate warming in Alaska.

About 30 people connected to the Parliamentary Assembly Science and Technology Committee visited the University of Alaska Fairbanks and heard presentations on the possibility of Arctic shipping routes and other topics, the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner (https://bit.ly/1rPZgOx) reported.

NATO is a 28-member group of military allies in Europe and North America.

The advisory committee includes lawmakers from NATO countries who in their home countries serve on foreign affairs and defense committees, committee director Henrik Bliddal said.

The four-day trip to Alaska focuses on Arctic topics from climate change to military preparedness. The committee already has visited Switzerland and Japan this year. Alaska was a natural choice, said Baroness Meta Ramsay, a member of Great Britain’s House of Lords.

“I see Alaska playing a very important role in the whole development of knowledge of what’s going to happen in this area and trying to be prepared for it,” Ramsay said. “The rest of the world is vaguely aware of it, but up here you’ve known about it for a long time.”

U.S. Rep. Thomas Marino, R-Pennsylvania, said the University of Alaska Fairbanks stop was designed to gather research on Arctic issues.

“Where else to go in the whole world than here to the University of Alaska to get information about polar caps and the scientific strides that have been made?” Marino said. “This to me is a fact-gathering process.”

It’s important that Arctic nations ensure that future shipping routes are safe and orderly, he said.

“I don’t think any of our countries in the Arctic are really well enough prepared to cope with it, and that needs to be worked out really in cooperation with one another,” he said.

The Alaska trip will include visits with military leaders.


Information from: Fairbanks (Alaska) Daily News-Miner, https://www.newsminer.com

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