Inuit leaders condemn Arctic Council’s lack of consensus on climate change

“Refusing to allow the words ‘climate change’ into the declaration is a moral failure”

This group photo taken at the Arctic Council ministerial on May 7 in Rovaniemi, Finland, belies the lack of agreement at the meeting, due to the U.S. delegation’s refusal to acknowledge climate change. (Photo courtesy of the Arctic Council)

By Jane George

After the May 7 Arctic Council ministerial in Rovaniemi, Finland, the Inuit Circumpolar Council had harsh words for the United States delegation.

The United States set an “unfortunate precedent” by refusing to agree on language that would have allowed the Arctic Council to issue a final declaration instead of a chair’s statement, the ICC said in a statement issued late Tuesday, after the ministerial meeting had wrapped up.

“Refusing to allow the words ‘climate change’ into the declaration is a moral failure,” said Dalee Sambo Dorough, the international chair of ICC, which represents roughly 165,000 Inuit in Greenland, Canada, Alaska and Chukotka.

“This is the first time the Arctic Council has failed to issue a declaration at the end of a two-year chairmanship, and it’s a serious blow to the future of what is supposed to be a consensus-based body. We are worried about the undermining of the Arctic Council’s credibility at a time when genuine leadership and a strong Arctic voice is needed,” said Hjalmar Dahl, the president of ICC-Greenland.

It’s particularly upsetting to the ICC that all parties couldn’t agree to acknowledge the impact of climate change on Inuit.

“Inuit are feeling the effects of climate change every day,” Sambo Dorough said. “While the U.S. government concerns itself with semantics, playing games with words, our people are witnessing the adverse impacts of climate change. What about us and our reality?”

Negotiations were supposed to result in what would have been called the Rovaniemi Declaration, the ICC release pointed out, but the U.S. opposed use of any language that would point to the need for action on climate change.

The led to the release of a one-page, seven-paragraph joint statement that avoided mentioning any of the threats and challenges faced in the Arctic.

So Finland’s chair of the Arctic Council, its foreign minister Timo Soini, released a chair’s statement at the end of the meeting, which said “a majority of us regarded climate change as a fundamental challenge facing the Arctic” and there is an “urgent need” to deal with it.

“This position was taken by the U.S. administration despite the fact that the 2017 Fairbanks Declaration at the end of the U.S. chairmanship clearly cited the effects of climate change in the Arctic and ‘the need for action at all levels,’” said Monica Ell-Kanayuk, President of ICC-Canada.

“It’s unfortunate there’s no declaration but at least the chair’s statement recognizes the urgency of dealing with climate change.”

The non-binding chair’s statement also mentions the importance of the 2018 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report on the consequences of failure to limit the increase of the average global temperature to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

“This is not just a question of words—it’s about the long-term survival of our culture and communities,” said Liubov Taian, the president of ICC-Russia.

“Our traditional Inuit territory covers 40 per cent of the Arctic region and it is essential that governments work with us to deal with the threat of climate change throughout Inuit Nunaat, our Arctic homeland.”

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(2) Comments:

  1. Posted by iThink on

    Under the current administration the US has shown nothing but contempt from the world outside its borders, with only a very few exceptions (Russia, Saudi Arabia and Israel). Once the ‘leader’ of the free, western world it has become a pariah among the family of nations, now descending into the early stages of it’s own death. Expect the situation to worsen in what will surely become paroxysms of domestic ideological violence.

  2. Posted by Jim MacDonald on

    Replace “global warming” with “climate change” word. Then say “climate-change” a gazillion times to believe as true. It’s OK the words “climate-change” stay out.

    Sure, understand the Catch 22. If Arctic Council doesn’t preach climate change, then funding $$$ attached to all things magically caused by “climate-change” vanishes. Or if one takes the $$ funding tidbits, then must subscribe to implementing UN Agenda 21/ 30, and UN’s 17 sustainable rules asp.

    Today, we see prices sky-rocketing. Imagine if International Monetary Fund succeeds with their push for a world $93.00 cdn carbon tax. Canada has talked $300. UN has suggested, high as $5,500 carbon tonne. France implodes revolting but it’s kept hushed. Impossible to drive your car or fly. Quick and easy way to end travel. Vancouver talking no car zones, banning gas cars.

    Cities, countries passing “climate emergency”–no debate. EU wants to spend 25% of their budget on it! If Nunavut follows, will it mean no more building non-sustainable gas/fuel tanks, and ignoring real issues?

    When sunspots are low as they are now, cooling happens. Is there a political iron-fist push? To keep us cheering USA bad, more carbon tax and thirsting for more restrictions to save us from the UN’s IPCC doom, climate-change-model-predictions?

    What happens if temperatures continue to drop and stay low for the next 60 years? Or stay the same. Will governments listen? Remove the carbon tax and other painful restrictions? Because the sun controls the climate, not humans and their co2. Then isn’t “Climate change” a decoy for technocracy control over everyone? And that’s wanted by keeping the climate change words?

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