17. December 2004 · Comments Off on The Inuit Lawsuit · Categories: General, Science!

This had slipped by me until I just heard about it on CNBC’s Dennis Miller

The Eskimos, or Inuit, about 155,000 seal-hunting peoples scattered around the Arctic, plan to seek a ruling from the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights that the United States, by contributing substantially to global warming, is threatening their existence.

The Inuit plan is part of a broader shift in the debate over human-caused climate change evident among participants in the 10th round of international talks taking place in Buenos Aires aimed at averting dangerous human interference with the climate system.

Inuit leaders said they planned to announce the effort at the climate meeting today.

Representatives of poor countries and communities – from the Arctic fringes to the atolls of the tropics to the flanks of the Himalayas – say they are imperiled by rising temperatures and seas through no fault of their own. They are casting the issue as no longer simply an environmental problem but as an assault on their basic human rights.

Such a petition could have decent prospects now that industrial countries, including the United States, have concluded in recent reports and studies that warming linked to heat-trapping smokestack and tailpipe emissions is contributing to big environmental changes in the Arctic, a number of experts said.

Last month, an assessment of Arctic climate change by 300 scientists for the eight countries with Arctic territory, including the United States, concluded that “human influences” are now the dominant factor.

Inuit representatives attending the conference said in telephone interviews that after studying the matter for several years with the help of environmental lawyers they would this spring begin the lengthy process of filing a petition by collecting videotaped statements from elders and hunters about the effects they were experiencing from the shrinking northern icescape.

This could be the ultimate pseudo-science class-action lawsuit. Of course, the “no empty chair” theory says that the United States should not be the only defendant.

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