Inuit group travels to Glasgow for COP26

Inuit Circumpolar Council has 3 calls to action to share at the world’s biggest conference on climate change

Inuit Circumpolar Council vice-president Lisa Koperqualuk speaks at the Inuit Studies Conference in Montreal in 2019. (File photo by Lisa Gregoire)

By David Lochead

As an unusually warm autumn lingers in Nunavut with temperatures hovering several degrees above normal, a group of Inuit are making demands on the world’s biggest stage for discussing climate change.

Lisa Koperqualuk and others from the Inuit Circumpolar Council have gone to Glasgow, Scotland, to represent Inuit at the 26th annual United Nations Climate Change Conference, known as COP26.

It’s is the largest annual event for representatives of nations and other organizations, as well as individuals, to discuss and commit to action on climate change.

“It’s giving us an opportunity to speak out and have a voice,” Koperqualuk, vice-president of the ICC, said about her involvement in the event.

Koperqualuk is from Puvirnituq, Nunavik, where said she has noticed the impacts of climate change in her hometown this October, as there was no snow.

“I was very surprised,” she said, adding that normally October is a time when blizzards are starting and ice is forming. Warmer temperatures mean people in Puvirnituq have to wait longer for the ice to be solid enough to travel on.

Joining Koperqualuk are ICC chairperson Dalee Sambo Dorough, National Inuit Youth Council president Brian Pottle and several Inuit elders and knowledge holders.

The ICC has released a paper with three calls to action to attendees of COP26. It calls for unprecedented efforts to cap global emissions, the inclusion of Indigenous knowledge and participation in climate decisions and the inclusion of Inuit input in international policy for the protection of Arctic waters.

But making these calls at a global conference means the group has to make their positions heard as some of the world’s most influential people, like Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and billionaire Jeff Bezos, make highly publicized commitments.

“It’s a challenge in itself to participate in a very large conference like this,” Koperqualuk said.

But she added that even though Inuit are a small group of peoples compared to the rest of the world’s population, ICC members will still have space to advocate at the conference.

The Local Communities and Indigenous Peoples Platform at the conference is an opportunity for groups like the ICC to share traditional knowledge to be included in research and policy toward climate change.

Koperqualuk said she will be participating in two events at COP26, both on shipping.

She will be a speaker at an event on Friday, titled reducing ships’ black carbon emissions to protect the Arctic, where she plans to address the carbon emissions of ships operating in the region.

For the session on marine governance, she said she plans to advocate for Inuit involvement in decisions regarding marine transportation through Arctic waters.

“We’re having our voice here to say, ‘We must participate in governance regarding maritime transport,’” Koperqualuk said.

She also said the ICC has applied to become a non-country member of the International Maritime Organization, and a decision is expected this month.

“It’s a longer wait.”

COP26 started on Oct. 31 and goes until Nov. 12.

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(10) Comments:

  1. Posted by NUNAVIMIUK on

    How much , oil did all these people burn for there photo op. wonder , where is the next photo going to be

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  2. Posted by flanders on

    Just remember ICC Alaska is bankrolled by NANA Regional Corporation and Arctic Slope Regional Corporation – both of which support more oil development, including off-shore oil development.

  3. Posted by Frodo’s parka on

    What a farce, honestly. Without the participation of China and India, whom are both increasing coal production, what the heck is this conference going to accomplish? Mr. Trudeau cannot participate in the house of commons following “the most important election of our time”, but give him a world stage to blab his virtues and he’s all in. This whole exercise is nothing more than a bunch of elites validating their own self-importance. I think history will view us all as very naive.

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    • Posted by Oh for god’s sake… on

      “what is this conference going to accomplish?” Something. Which is better than nothing.
      If you are on a bus that is stuck in the mud, you get out and push. You don’t refuse to push at all just because the 2 fat guys inside the bus aren’t helping yet. Yes they should help, but in the meantime everyone else needs to push the bus.

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      • Posted by Frodo’s parka on

        Here is the delegate count by country:

        Canada – 276
        UK – 227
        Japan – 225
        France – 195
        US – 133
        Germany – 120
        Italy – 166

        So Canada, which accounts for about 1.5% of GHG once again has the most delegates and are creating the largest carbon footprint of any country there. Also can you guess how much Canada’s carbon emissions have gone down under Mr. Trudeau’s watch, carbon tax and all? If you guessed that they actually went up, you would be correct.

        So I would give your bus analogy some credit if the premise that we were actually doing something was correct, which we’re not.

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        • Posted by VOTER on

          Wonder where oprah and bono are in saving us

      • Posted by uhhhh on

        Your metaphor to try to push an entire bus out of the mud by yourself kinda validates the original argument that nothing will be accomplished. Why try to push a bus out of the mud when you know you can’t?

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        • Posted by Oh for god’s sake… on

          Because the alternative is to sit there and drown as the bus disappears below the mud. And I was talking about getting the group to push together, not just one person. Even if some people aren’t willing to push yet, those who are need to.

          As for the argument that Canada sent a lot of delegates, creating a larger carbon footprint and thus the whole thing is a hypocritic waste of time, what exactly is your alternative?
          Send no one? Don’t participate? Sit back and say ‘until India and China stop coal production there is no point in trying anything”?

          Frodo’s Parka, you say history will view us as naïve, but what is your alternative to participating in an international climate summit? Stare into the void as the world burns?

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          • Posted by Holy Moly on

            You mean the bus is stuck in mud so deep that it will consume the entire bus? I don’t know man, I think if you tried to push a bus in that mud, it will consume everybody else as well. I’d probably choose the other alternative you didn’t mention, just get out of the mud and call a taxi.

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            • Posted by Oh for god’s sake… on

              The bus is the planet in this metaphor. There is no taxi or other options. Push the bus, or drown in the mud.

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