fbpx
Skip to content

Arctic Summit told to leave it in the ground!

The Council of Canadians and the Indigenous Environmental Network alongside the Alaska-based REDOIL Network issued an open letter to the Foreign Ministers of Canada, Denmark, Norway, Russia and the United States urging them to pursue a moratorium on all new exploration for fossil fuel resources in the Arctic region.

The Foreign Ministers of these five Arctic Ocean coastal states will be meeting at an Arctic Summit Monday, March 29 in Chelsea Quebec (notably absent are other members of the Arctic Council). The discovery of 90 billion barrels of oil and 1,670 trillion cubic feet of natural gas in the Arctic region has triggered a rush to secure access that includes well-known players such as Shell and Exxon. In the face of renewed geopolitical tensions, this Monday’s meeting will feature discussions on how to facilitate ongoing collaboration and “new thinking on responsible development.”

The truth is that no new development is responsible development faced with the climate crisis, let alone development in the fragile Arctic Ocean ecosystem which is suffering the impacts of climate change. The Arctic region is already warming at a rate almost twice as fast as the rest of the world. The open letter also argues that further Arctic oil and gas development stands to have devastating impacts on local Indigenous peoples.

You can read the open letter here

For Immediate Release

Arctic Summit told to leave it in the ground

Ottawa / March 26, 2010 –

The Indigenous Environmental Network, the Council of Canadians, and the Alaska based REDOIL Network have issued an open letter calling for an international moratorium on all new exploration for fossil fuel resources in the Arctic region. The letter is directed at the Foreign Ministers of Canada, Norway, Denmark, Russia and the United States who will be present at the Arctic Summit in Chelsea, Québec, March 29, 2010.

The discovery of 90 billion barrels of oil and 1,670 trillion cubic feet of natural gas in the Arctic region has triggered a rush to secure access that includes petroleum companies such as Shell and Exxon.

“New oil and gas development is anything but responsible in the face of a very serious climate crisis which requires governments like those meeting in Chelsea to rapidly reduce emissions,” says Andrea Harden-Donahue, Energy Campaigner with the Council of Canadians. “It is no small irony that increased access to exploit reserves in the fragile Arctic Ocean ecosystem is largely the result of melting sea ice.”

“We believe that a moratorium on fossil fuel development would be a first step to addressing the climate crisis we are in. Strong actions need to be taken now by Governments of the world to effectively address climate change. Indigenous peoples worldwide bear the consequences of Global Warming daily and we want concrete action now,” states Faith Gemmill, Executive Director of the Alaska based Resisting Environmental Destruction on Indigenous Lands (REDOIL).

“Climate change is responsible for increased levels of contaminants like mercury, DDTs and PCBs in staple edible fish species near my home community,” says Daniel T’seleie, a K’asho Got’ine Dene from Fort Good Hope, Northwest Territories. “Increased development of Arctic oil and gas would not only contribute to the climate crisis that is devastating Arctic communities, it would also add more direct pressure to fragile ecosystems that are already stressed by the combined impacts of climate change and existing development.  This would be an unconscionable infringement on the rights of Arctic Indigenous Peoples.”

Excellent photo opportunities: The IEN and the Council of Canadians will bring a message to Foreign Ministers to “leave it in the ground” Monday afternoon at the parking lot off of Meech Lake road near the road leading to the Arctic Summit meeting location.

-30-

For more information:

Clayton Thomas Muller, Indigenous Tar Sands Campaigner, Indigenous Environmental Network, monsterredlight@gmail.com, 1-218-760-6632

Andrea Harden-Donahue, Energy Campaigner, Council of Canadians, aharden@canadians.org, 613-218-5800