President of Iceland on the Future of the Arctic

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It used to be that when we talked about the Arctic, it was with a sense of far-off fantasy and adventure. Explorers went there, polar bears lived there—it was not a place that most of us ever thought we’d venture to.

But now, because of the changing polar climate, the Arctic has become a place of intense interest to international players in business, science, politics and policy.

That’s because melting polar ice leads to a host of issues—both negative and positive—that go well beyond the Arctic. These issues include new northern shipping routes and expedited international trade, in addition to new security challenges and potentially disastrous environmental impacts.

It’s for these reasons that President Olafur Grimsson of Iceland decided to launch the first international gathering on the Arctic, called Arctic Circle.

This gathering will take place from October 11 to 14 in the Icelandic capital of Reykjavik.

President Gromsson joined us in studio to tell us more about the issues at hand, and why he thinks the U.S. should be paying more attention.