Arctic waters off limits to oil & gas activities say Canada-U.S. in joint statement

Share
Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and US President Barack Obama at the White House in March 2016. Their joint-statement banning offshore Arctic drilling is being praised by environmental groups around the world. (Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images)
Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and US President Barack Obama at the White House in March 2016. Their joint-statement banning offshore Arctic drilling is being praised by environmental groups around the world. (Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images)
Canada and the United States issued a joint statement on Tuesday barring offshore oil & gas activities in the Arctic.

“Today, President Obama and Prime Minister Trudeau are proud to launch actions ensuring a strong, sustainable and viable Arctic economy and ecosystem, with low-impact shipping, science based management of marine resources, and free from the future risks of offshore oil and gas activity,” the joint statement said.

“Together, these actions set the stage for deeper partnerships with other Arctic nations, including through the Arctic Council.”

pm_tuesday

Canada also announced it was scrapping its Northern Strategy in favour of an Arctic Policy Framework to be developed with First Nations, Inuit, and Métis Peoples along with Canada’s territorial and provincial governments.

Environmental groups praise announcement

Canada says it will review the ban every five years, based on climate and scientific assessment.

Meanwhile, the President Barack Obama issued an order indefinitely banning offshore oil and gas leasing in the majority of the Chukchi and Beaufort Seas.

potus

“Today’s announcement is a groundbreaking step for the Arctic, its inhabitants and the planet,”  said Jessica Wilson, head of Greenpeace Canada’s Arctic campaign, in a news statement on Tuesday.

“The science is clear: if Canada is to meet its climate commitments to keep global warming below 2C, and as close as possible to 1.5C, we must leave extreme oil like Arctic oil in the ground. Greenpeace welcomes this moratorium as a significant step towards the government applying a science-based approach to economic development in the Arctic.”

Tuktoyaktuk (pictured above) in Canada's Northwest Territories. Rising seas from global warming and land sinking as permafrost thaws are threatening the Arctic community. A recent study suggests governments need policies to address climate migration from around the world. (Rick Bowmer/AP)
Tuktoyaktuk (pictured above) in Canada’s Northwest Territories. What will Tuesday’s announcement mean for Arctic communities? (Rick Bowmer/AP)

Other environmental groups said the announcement sent an important message to the energy industry.

“Today’s announcement shows an impressive commitment to protect one of our most ecologically sensitive areas,” said David Miller, president and CEO of WWF-Canada.

“We urge industry to see the ban of offshore drilling in the Arctic as an opportunity to invest in habitat-friendly renewable energies to help meet our fuel and energy needs.”

Canada and the U.S. also announced on Tuesday that they're working to identify sustainable shipping lanes throughout their connected Arctic waters. (iStock)
Canada and the U.S. also announced on Tuesday that they’re working to identify sustainable shipping lanes throughout their connected Arctic waters. (iStock)
Canada-U.S. on the Arctic

Today’s statement was the second major Trudeau-Obama joint announcement on the Arctic this year.

In March, Trudeau travelled to Washington D.C., where the two leaders announced their commitment to protecting the Arctic environment and their plans to cut emissions.

The move was hailed by Arctic watchers at the time as an important signal on the North’s rising priority on the international stage. 

Write to Eilís Quinn (at) eilis.quinn@cbc.ca

Related stories from around the North:

Canada:  Trudeau and Obama’s Arctic endeavours, Deutsche Welle’s Iceblogger

Finland:  Finland’s Foreign Trade and Development Minister concerned about Trump’s climate policy, Yle News

Norway:  Groundbreaking lawsuit filed against Norway over Arctic oil drilling, The Independent Barents Observer

Russia:  Arctic oil – Russia pushes North as U.S. blocks Alaska leasing, Blog by Mia Bennett

Sweden:  Swedes discover new Barents oil and gas, The Independent Barents Observer

United States:  Obama, Trudeau announce plans to fight Arctic oil and gas pollution; Alaskans criticize lack of input, Alaska Dispatch News

 

 

 

 

Share
Eilís Quinn, Eye on the Arctic

Eilís Quinn, Eye on the Arctic

Eilís Quinn is a journalist and manages Radio Canada International’s Eye on the Arctic circumpolar news project. At Eye on the Arctic, Eilís has produced documentary and multimedia series about climate change and the issues facing Indigenous peoples in the circumpolar world. Her documentary Bridging the Divide was a finalist at the 2012 Webby Awards. Eilís began reporting on the North in 2001. Her work as a reporter in Canada and the United States, and as TV host for the Discovery/BBC Worldwide series "Best in China" has taken her to some of the world’s coldest regions including the Tibetan mountains, Greenland and Alaska; along with the Arctic regions of Canada, Russia, Norway and Iceland.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *