Arctic Leaders urge action climate change



A group of Arctic leaders were in Denmark this week to urge the Danish people to keep up their good work on fighting climate change.

“We thank Denmark and the other European Union countries for taking such a strong lead on climate change action,” said Chief Gary Harrison of the Arctic Athabaskan Council. “But we know there is some tough sledding ahead to make the rest of the cuts in greenhouse gases that will be needed.”

Olav Mathis Eira, Vice-President of the Saami Council, Craig Fleener of the Gwich’in Council International and Larisa Abryutina, vice-president of the Russian Association of Indigenous Peoples of the North were also in Denmark.

“We are not asking for sympathy,” Abryutina said. “We are asking for action. We are asking each country in the world to examine if it is truly doing its part to slow climate change. That means actions taken here at home, but also action internationally, to help persuade other countries that are currently not committed to climate change action.”

A recent report from the Copenhagen-based European Environment Agency says changes in climate and impacts on nature and ecosystems are already underway in various parts of Europe, including its Arctic region. EU countries, including Denmark, are meeting this year to decide what action to take after the Kyoto commitment period is over.

That period, during which the EU has committed to greenhouse gas reductions of eight per cent, ends in 2008 to 2012.

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