‘Code red’ climate change report nothing new to Nunavummiut

UN report intended as stark warning but many in territory already familiar with changing environment

Sea ice patterns in the Arctic. (Photo Credit: NASA)

By David Lochead

Michael Ferguson isn’t surprised by the UN’s new report on climate change that says the world is entering a “code-red” situation when it comes to climate change.

“It’s very much a David and Goliath situation,” said Ferguson, a senior wildlife adviser with the Qikiqtaaluk Wildlife Board.

The report, released by the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change this week, says without a drastic reduction global fossil fuel emissions, temperatures across the planet will warm by an average of 1.5 C since the pre-industrial era or the mid-1800s within two decades or sooner.

The report predicts passing this threshold will have dire consequences, including rising sea levels and ice-free summers in the Arctic by 2050, which would also affect the Arctic eco-system. On top of this, permafrost thaw is expected to threaten two-thirds of Arctic infrastructure, such as the region’s houses, by the mid-century, according to a separate UN report from 2019.

The report released this week weighs in at 3,949 pages, and none of them takes into account the observations of Inuit. This has long been a problem with the way Arctic research is conducted, says Ferguson.

The Arctic is heating up three times as quickly as the rest of the world, according a 2019 report commissioned by Environment and Climate Change Canada, and the region is so vast it can be challenging to study the effects that’s having on the region. There are few climate scientists who live or visit the Arctic compared to Inuit who live there and who have done so for generations, according to Ferguson.

“It’s very difficult, government always goes to the scientists first,” he said.

To highlight the consequences this has, Ferguson points to polar bears. While the scientific community has historically focused on the dangers the species faces through the impacts of a warming Arctic, he says Inuit observe that they are adapting to their new environmental conditions.

James McKenzie, who led the Auditor General of Canada’s assessment of climate change for Nunavut in 2018, agrees Inuit knowledge needs to be included in policy decisions.

“I think [Inuit principles] are key because it gives that added layer of knowledge to decision-makers,” he said.

McKenzie also believes the UN report is useful because it serves as a clear reminder that actions on climate change need to be taken, but  any policy spurred by it should to take Inuit perspectives into account.

“It’s so much different than the rest of Canada,” McKenzie says.

For Premier Joe Savikataaq adapting to climate change is critical. He says houses across the territory need to be lifted so they are protected from melting permafrost.

“It’s a lot more costly but something we have to do,” he said.

This was the UN’s sixth major assessment on climate change.

Share This Story

(8) Comments:

  1. Posted by S on

    -This isn’t the first time that humans have sought to influence society with false narratives. Ancients espoused gods of every ilk to justify sacrificing everything from animals to humans. More modernistic plutocracies used similar strategies to entrench organized religions dating back centuries, and millennia.
    – More recently, we’ve permitted dictators and communist states under the guise of advocating for the common-man.
    – Today, through the wedge of complacent democracy, the socialist oligarchy indoctrinates lazy and consumptive masses with continual non-science to foment human-made-climate hysteria and over the past 18 months, covidmania.

    • Posted by Oh for god’s sake… on

      Non-science? it was a climate report released by scientists.
      Human-made-climate hysteria? Have you not seen that huge chunks of both the country and the world are on fire, again!
      covidmania? over 4 million people have died in those 18 months.
      Why even bother commenting this drivel? All it does is expose that these callous people don’t have any idea what they are talking about.

      • Posted by josywales on

        Totally agree with your observation of the previous comments. What a total crap.
        Are these coming from a Scientist?
        Josy Wales

    • Posted by The Non-Scientist on

      This guy’s spent too much time reading InfoWars.
      People like this guy are funny, because they think they’re special and they have to build their identity around being different, likely because they have no substantial character themselves, so they review a whole bunch of garbage that tries to debunk the mainstream scientific consensus and then spew it back thinking that it makes them look smart and that anybody that disagrees with them are stupid sheeple.
      Really all it does is make you look like an ignorant conspiracy theorist.
      What’s really amazing is that there have been articles written since the early 20th century predicting climate change with eerie accuracy, including one from August 1912 that wrote,
      “The furnaces of the world are now burning about 2,000,000,000 tons of coal a year. When this is burned, uniting with oxygen, it adds about 7,000,000,000 tons of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere yearly. This tends to make the air a more effective blanket for the earth and to raise its temperature. The effect may be considerable in a few centuries.”
      So this guy’s blaming something that’s been known for 109 years on “today’s socialist oligarchy”. Just astounding.

  2. Posted by S on

    -Climate is the manifestation of a series of natural processes and cycles involving all parts of geological Earth, its atmosphere and other astrological bodies and phenomena.
    -It is both dynamic and repetitive. To human society, it displays mostly as weather, both as regular and episodic events of precipitation, wind and temperature, among other outcomes.
    -Though inner Earth and the Sun determine 99.9999% of Earth’s climate processes and cycles, Earth’s own multiple-fluctuating orbits can have intermittent effects on its dynamic climate, and regular effects on its weather.
    -To date, nothing, as in nothing, humans have done, or said, have had any effects on the planet’s climate – nor is that likely to occur. Those facts are indisputable.
    -Humans desire to control nature’s narratives, and each others’, is the foundation for the recent sociopolitical entrenchment of the human-made-climate mania.
    -Anyone who wishes to contribute to Earth’s and its inhabitants’ health, whether socially or organically, immediately reduce your toxic consumption behaviors; then start, and continue, to connect with all aspects of nature. In doing that you will begin to live and to soundly reject all aspects of the oligarchy-fostered antisocial-socialism in your domain.
    -Or keep living with your head buried in the sand and following the pattern of non-science doctrines which advocate absurd ideas – such as the Earth is flat; and that Creationism trumps Nature

    • Posted by The Non-Scientist on

      Look, “S”…
      Your copying and pasting from some conspiracy theory Reddit isn’t making you look any better. Your own first point states that Earth’s atmosphere is a part of Earth’s climate, even though your 3rd point states that inner Earth and the Sun determine 99.9999% of the climate processes and cycles. But you’re right that Earth’s atmosphere is a part of the climate. And the absorption of carbon dioxide changes the atmosphere, not allowing as much heat to escape. This was first proposed in 1824 by Joseph Fourier, and more evidence continued to strengthen the argument until Nils Gustaf Ekholm used the term greenhouse effect in 1901.
      NASA is well aware of human-caused climate change and warming. But I guess they’re all just living with their heads buried in the sand, following the pattern of non-science doctrines which advocate absurd ideas.
      You also contradict yourself, saying anyone who wishes to contribute to Earth’s and its inhabitants’ health, whether socially or organically, immediately reduce your toxic consumption behaviors. If it’s “indisputable” that humans cannot have an effect on Earth’s climate, why does anyone have to reduce their consumption behaviours?

      • Posted by Non-scientist alert on

        ” If it’s “indisputable” that humans cannot have an effect on Earth’s climate, why does anyone have to reduce their consumption behaviours?”

        Non-scientist, it’d seem pretty clear that “S” is saying that our consumption behaviors can have extremely negative effects on earth and humanity, without affecting the climate. Did you really miss that easily observable fact your whole life?

    • Posted by Soothsayer on

      “To date, nothing, as in nothing, humans have done, or said, have had any effects on the planet’s climate – nor is that likely to occur. Those facts are indisputable.”
      This is simply not true at all, worse, it is a massive distortion of reality in the service, ironically (given the authors supposed aversion to narratives), of a very specific narrative that wants to deny any responsibility or action on human induced climate change.

      I am not personally a scientist so, I make no claims to authority on this, but like everyone am concerned for the future of humanity to the extent that I find the opinions of experts, at the very least, compelling enough to consider the evidence they have presented. To that end it is clear that humans have contributed significantly to our changing climate and that our current trajectory in terms of green house gas emissions, among other things, is unsustainable for the continuance of human life on the planet.

      If you are committed to understanding and making sense of the world, I would encourage you to consider the information at this site:



Comments are closed.