(John Geiger/Globe and Mail, 1 January 2010) -- Sheila Watt-Cloutier was involved in educational reform before entering active politics about 15 years ago. In 2002, she was voted international chair of the Inuit Circumpolar Council, an international organization representing the interests of Inuit in Canada, Alaska, Russia and Greenland. She has now left active politics, but continues her crusade. Sheila Watt-Cloutier's case that the fight against climate change is fundamentally a human-rights issue for the Inuit has changed the debate irreversibly. It is no longer solely about the prognostications of paleoclimatologists, mathematical modelling and abstract, impersonal scientific consensus. Nor is it about the antics and exhortations of politicians and environmental activists. Ms. Watt-Cloutier has succeeded in putting a human face on climate change. If there is a ground zero for climate change, it is surely the Arctic. Multi-year ice is disappearing, glaciers that once calved at the sea have receded, replaced in summer by cascading melt-water streams. The permafrost is thawing. The change is happening at an astonishing pace. It is less the perilous region of yore than a region in peril. Little wonder, then, that of all the species on earth it is the polar bear, the great floe-edge hunter, that has become the poster animal for climate change. In fact, all life in the Arctic will be affected in some way, not least the people who live there, the Inuit. Ms. Watt-Cloutier's fight is a fight, then, for a way of life that has for centuries survived against the odds on the margins of the habitable world.
Posted 1 January 2010; 11:37:14 PM. Permalink
(CBC News, 1 January 2010) -- People in the Northwest Territories are still sifting through the Joint Review Panel's recommendations for the Mackenzie Valley gas project. But a pattern is emerging: there's a tremendous amount of work to do before the project goes ahead if all the panel's 176 conditions are followed. The proposed $16.2-billion natural gas pipeline moved closer to reality Wednesday after winning approval from the panel. Imperial Oil and its partners are now assessing what the panel's conditions mean. "All of those have implications for the potential cost of the project," said company spokesman Pius Rolheiser. He said the proponents plan to offer comments to the National Energy Board within the next three weeks. "The proponents are pleased that the Joint Review Panel has concluded that with appropriate measures to mitigate potential impacts, that the Mackenzie Project is in the public interest, and should be allowed to move forward," he said.
Posted 1 January 2010; 11:38:22 AM. Permalink