The Indigenous Environmental Network, the Council of Canadians, and the Alaska based REDOIL Network have issued an open letter (link below) 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, Quebec, 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.”
For more information:
Clayton Thomas Muller, Indigenous Tar Sands Campaigner, Indigenous Environmental Network, firstname.lastname@example.org, 1-218-760-6632
Andrea Harden-Donahue, Energy Campaigner, Council of Canadians, email@example.com, 613-218-5800