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Arctic summit in Chelsea, March 29

The Canwest News Service reports that an Arctic summit will take place in Chelsea, Quebec on March 29 with Canada, Russia, Norway, Denmark and the United States attending.

“The summit is aimed at encouraging ‘new thinking on ecomomic development and environmental protection’ to exploit opportunities for oil and gas production while preserving fragile ecosystems.”

New thinking? Environmental protection?

The Toronto Star reported on July 24, 2008 that, “the United States Geological Survey estimated the (Arctic Circle) has 90 billion barrels of ‘technically recoverable’ oil and 1,670 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. …Much of the energy reserves lie in waters where sovereignty is disputed among Canada, Russia, the United States, Norway and Denmark.”

That article noted, “Andrea Harden-Donahue, energy campaigner for the Council of Canadians in Ottawa, emphasized the need for a social and environment impact assessment before ‘rushing into an energy gold rush’. Harden-Donahue said private industry is eager to exploit the fragile area, a developmental process being sped up by global warming.”

With the Harper government lacking a strategy to guide Canada to a renewable energy future and just recently announcing a shameful emissions target of 2.5 percent above 1990 levels, there is little new thinking or environmental protection evident.

The Arctic summit is to be followed by a G8 foreign ministers meeting in Gatineau, Quebec on March 29-30. The G8/G20 summit will take place on June 25-27 with reports that climate change – in advance of COP 16 in Mexico in December – will be on their agenda.