Inuit delegates get ready for 25th UN climate change conference
“Our ice and snow covered Arctic homelands are already undergoing dramatic change and melting”
A delegation of Inuit from across the circumpolar world are in Madrid, Spain, this week for the COP25 United Nations Climate Change Conference, an international gathering that will bring together all the nation-states that signed the Dec. 12, 2015, Paris agreement.
The COP25 gathering runs from Dec. 2 to Dec. 13, and comes hard on the heels of a new UN report that found that if current rates of global greenhouse gas emissions continue, the world is headed for potentially catastrophic climate change by the end of this century.
That “emissions gap report,” released on Nov. 26, compared the amount of greenhouse gases actually being emitted to the volume of emissions reductions needed to avoid the worst effects of climate change.
Under the Paris agreement, countries agreed to an average global temperature rise of 1.5 degrees Celsius.
But the emissions gap report found most greenhouse gas emitters, including Canada, are not meeting the emissions reduction targets they agreed to in 2015, and predicted a global temperature rise of 3.2 degrees Celsius.
“Our ice and snow covered Arctic homelands are already undergoing dramatic change and melting,” Dalee Sambo Dorough, the international chair of the Inuit Circumpolar Council, said in a news release.
“This report confirms that we must increase our collective ambition and efforts to cut our CO2 emissions. We must take immediate action to curb and ultimately end the devasting impacts that humans are having upon our planet.”
And yesterday, Nov. 28, the World Meteorological Organization said concentrations of greenhouse gases are at record levels, and could produce global temperature increases of between three and five degrees Celsius by 2100.
At various times over the next two weeks, Sambo Dorough and other Inuit leaders and youth delegates will attend the Madrid meetings.
Those other leaders include Lisa Koperqualuk, the vice-president of ICC-Canada, and Crystal Martin-Lapenskie, president of the National Inuit Youth Council.
A youth delegation from Tuktoyaktuk will attend, as will Benjamin Charles, a Yup’ik delegate from Alaska.
“Climate change is a global emergency. We have a collective human duty to solve it together. In Madrid, we will work with governments, and push them to take stronger actions to curb global warming,” Koperqualuk said in the news release.
On Dec. 5, Inuit delegates will participate in an event called “From the Boreal to Arctic: Indigenous knowledge and leadership for climate mitigation and adaptation,” where Sambo Dorough will speak, along with youth from Alaska and Canada.
ICC leaders will also speak at various side events, including events at the COP25 Indigenous peoples pavilion.