Maas calls for Arctic protection

Temperatures in the polar region are rising three times faster than the global average.

Maas calls for Arctic protection
dpa

Iqaluit, Canada (dpa) - German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas has called for more attention to be paid to climate change in the Arctic during a visit to Canada.

"These people do not have any opportunity to make a major contribution to opposing climate change by altering their behaviour," Maas said on Wednesday while on a trip to the country's northern regions.

"That is our responsibility," he said in Iqaluit, the capital of Nunavut Territory.

Arctic temperatures are rising three times faster than the global average. Fifty years ago, the amount of ice was four times what it is today.

The melting of the ice has freed up new routes for shipping, and the region's resources in the form of fossil fuels and fisheries are of increasing economic significance.

Five countries, including the United States and Russia, claim territory in the region, giving rise to fears of a new conflict zone.

On Thursday, Maas is to travel to Pond Inlet in the Arctic Circle before returning to Berlin.