Global Warming Will Decimate Arctic Peoples

By Stephen Leahy10000660_jpg.jpg

Climate change will soon make the Arctic regions of the world nearly unrecognisable, dramatically disrupting traditional Inuit and other northern native peoples’ way of life, according to a new report that has yet to be publicly released.

Originally published in September 11 2004 by the Inter Press Service

The dire predictions are just some of the findings by the Arctic Climate Impact Assessment (ACIA), an unprecedented four-year scientific investigation into the current and future impact of climate change in the region. “This assessment projects the end of the Inuit as a hunting culture,” said Sheila Watt-Cloutier, chairwoman of the group that represents about 155,000 Inuit in the Arctic regions of Canada, Russia, Greenland, and the United States.

The report predicts the depletion of summer sea ice, which will push marine mammals like polar bears, walrus and some seal species into extinction by the middle of this century, Watt-Cloutier told IPS.

The assessment was commissioned by the Arctic Council, an intergovernmental body involving the eight Arctic nations — Canada, Denmark, Finland, Sweden, Iceland, Norway, Russia, and the United States.

The Inuit and other Arctic peoples also participate in the Council and contributed to the ACIA report, along with over 600 hundred scientists from around the world. Although complete, it will not be made public or presented to governments until after the U.S. presidential elections at a conference in Reykjavik, Iceland, Nov. 9-12.

The impacts of climate change are already widely felt in the Arctic. Thawing permafrost — the normally perpetually frozen layer of earth — has collapsed roads and buildings. Unexpectedly thinner sea ice and small streams that have become raging rivers has led to several drownings in recent years, according to Watt-Cloutier.

“Our traditional wisdom on how to survive and thrive on the land is becoming useless because everything is changing and changing fast.”

For complete story please see: Global Warming Will Decimate Arctic Peoples

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