John Kerry is heading north.
On Friday, the U.S. Secretary of State will travel to the Canadian Arctic city of Iqualuit, Nunavut, where he will take temporary reins of the Arctic Council, a forum that could ultimately determine the fate of the Arctic. At the biennial Arctic Council ministerial meeting in Iqualuit, Canadian Environment Minister Leona Aglukkaq — the current Arctic Council Chair — will turn the chairmanship of the eight-nation body over to Kerry.
While it might be cliché to call this a critical juncture for the Arctic, Kerry is assuming this role at a time of unprecedented uncertainty for this diverse and fast-changing region. The Arctic is warming twice as fast as the rest of the planet, driving rapid melting of sea ice, glaciers and ice sheets across the region.