Arctic natives seek global warming ruling
Updated: 2005-12-08 20:22
As ice caps shrink around them, Inuit activists are
making an international case out of Washington's alleged indifference to global
warming. But the Bush administration is standing by its refusal to negotiate
long-term limits on "greenhouse gases."
Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Pierre
Pettigrew, left, United Nations Deputy-Secretary General Louise Frechette,
second from left, Prime Minister Paul Martin, third from left, and Richard
Kinley, Officer-in-Charge, UNFCCC listen to proceedings at the United
Nations Climate Change Conference, Wednesday, Dec. 7, 2005, in Montreal.
A two-week U.N. climate conference, attended by more than 180 nations, enters
its final two days Thursday with little prospect for consensus on a key item ¡ª
mandatory cutbacks beyond 2012 in carbon dioxide and other emissions whose
buildup in the atmosphere is expected to disrupt the global climate.
The climate is already changing in the Arctic, where an international study
last year found average winter temperatures have increased as much as 7 degrees
over 50 years. Permafrost is thawing, and the extent of Arctic Sea ice is
shrinking, imperiling polar bears and other animals.
The warming threatens "the destruction of the hunting and
food-gathering culture of the Inuit in this century," said Paul Crowley of the
Inuit Circumpolar Conference, representing 155,000 Inuit of Canada, Greenland,
Russia and the United States, where they are known as Eskimos.