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Water Today Title August 16, 2018

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Feature


Update 2018/6/9
G7 Charlevoix Summit 2018

G7: MUCH TO TALK ABOUT AS TO OCEANS, SEAS AND COASTAL COMMUNITIES


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By Michelle Moore


Over the course of the G7 meetings, Canada hopes to unite the leaders of several nations and heads of international organizations to discuss the state of the world's oceans, seas and coastal communities. June 9, the day after World Ocean Day, Canada will host an outreach session to talk about the health of our oceans.

Invited to the meeting were the Presidents and Prime Ministers of twelve different countries including Bangladesh, the Marshall Islands, Norway, and Senegal. Also invited were representatives from the United Nations, World Bank, International Monetary Fund and the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development.

The discussion will tackle subjects like "how to build resilient coasts and communities, share ocean knowledge and science, and support sustainable oceans and fisheries," read the press release. Participants will also attend a dinner at the Québec Citadelle hosted by Governor General of Canada, Julie Payette.

In a statement that followed, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said "our oceans and coasts are under considerable threat from increases in plastic pollution, more frequent and severe weather events, and illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing. Resilient coastal communities and healthy oceans are vital to growing economies that work for everyone and that is why we are committed to working with others to protect the world's oceans."

There certainly will be a lot to discuss, earlier this week the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) published a report that revealed the oceans are rising by an average of 3 millimeters a year. American coastal cities like Atlantic City and Boston experienced over twenty days of high-tide flooding in 2017-2018.

The NOAA further reported that "the projected increase in high tide flooding in 2018 may be as much as 60 percent higher across U.S. coastlines as compared to typical flooding about 20 years ago.

Here in Canada sea level rise is a serious problem for coastal cities as well. After partnering with the Department of Oceans and Fisheries in the spring to study sea level rise, Samantha Page, Coastal Adaptation Coordinator at the Ecology Action Centre said, "in Atlantic Canada, sea-level rise is impacting our coastal communities more and more every year and all models indicate that the impacts will only intensify."

Rising sea levels are not the only risk coastal communities are facing. The significant levels of plastic and other kinds of waste in our oceans has been in the news a lot lately, but let's take a look at the source. A new study compiled by the Natural Resources Defense Council, The International Institute for Sustainable Development, The Overseas Development Institute and Oil Change International revealed that Canada "is the largest provider of fiscal support to oil and gas production per unit of GDP."

The day before Earth Day this year the government approved BP's offshore drilling project off the coast of Nova Scotia. Additionally, the federally-supported Trans Mountain Pipeline would see 890 000 barrels of bitumen a day, only increasing the risks for British Columbia's coastal communities.

Concerning other G7 countries, UK Prime Minister Theresa May has given her continued support for oil and gas drilling in the North Sea and this January, the Trump Administration moved to vastly expand offshore drilling from the Atlantic to the Arctic oceans.

Time will tell whether or not the oil and gas industry will be discussed over the course of the meeting. Meanwhile, relations between the United States and the rest of the G7 begs the question, will President Trump be present at the meeting?

m.moore@watertoday.ca





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