Polar Conference Calls for More Renewables

Delegates to a conference in Canada’s Arctic want more action to encourage the use of renewable energy as a means to reduce the environmental damage in northern regions.

WHITEHORSE, Yukon, CA, 2001-03-27 <> The three-day Circumpolar Climate Change Summit released the ‘Whitehorse Declaration on Northern Climate Change,’ outlining actions that are required to address climate change and its impacts in the Circumpolar North. More than 300 recommendations were reviewed by the 275 delegates. “We want to deliver a very strong message that climate change is no longer an abstract idea in the North,” says co-chair Aynslie Ogden. “Northern residents are witnessing disturbing and severe climatic and ecological changes as a result of global warming, and are demanding that stronger measures be taken to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.” The summit presented monitoring results which identify vulnerable northern ecosystems and develop strategy recommendations for responses to climate change. “We must establish effective incentives and remove the many barriers to improved energy efficiency and the widespread use of renewable energy,” reads the declaration. “We must ensure that all new and existing policies, standards, regulations, legislation, and management agreements become consistent with the goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions and our vulnerability to climate change.” Residents of the Circumpolar North “are witnessing disturbing and severe climatic and ecological changes,” says the document, and the issue “requires an unprecedented level of collaboration by all nations and all sectors of their societies.” Although residents of northern regions must take stronger measures to reduce their own greenhouse gas emissions, delegates agreed that the Circumpolar North will remain highly reliant upon global actions to reduce these emissions. “The Declaration calls for serious and immediate international action to slow the rapid rate of change in northern ecosystems and communities,” explains Ogden. “Northern communities now face the challenge of adapting to climate change, there is a realization that steps must be taken to reduce vulnerability to new climatic and environmental conditions.”