The U.S., Russia and other Arctic nations say they're looking past Ukraine's civil war and other tensions to prevent oil spills near the North Pole and combat climate change in a place warming faster than the rest of the world.

Delegates at the eight-nation Arctic Council are pledging to address black carbon, or soot, a greenhouse gas that is particularly potent in the Arctic. No goals for emissions reductions were immediately set.

They also spoke of furthering plans to avoid an Arctic oil disaster and starting joint search-and-rescue drills.

On behalf of the United States, Secretary of State John Kerry took over the chairmanship of the body that holds a summit every two years. The next one will be in Alaska in 2017.