While many of you enjoyed your first full night of sleep after the Durban overtime, the Canadians had no such luck. Barely off the plane, Canada’s Environment Minister wasted no time in confirming the COP’s worst kept secret, that Canada was officially pulling out of the Kyoto Protocol.
Many delegates probably had already given up on Canada at that point, but those of us in CAN who live within that vast, beautiful, hockey-loving country have had to continue to bear witness to what can only be called the government of polluters’ puppets. Since bailing on their 9-year ratification relationship with the Kyoto Protocol, the Canadian government has only gone further downhill when it comes to climate action. The
1)A report from the government watchdog on our environment and climate goals made clear last week that it would be nearly impossible under current policy for Canada to meet its (embarrassingly weak) target of 17% below 2005 levels by 2020. After all, the report said, there aren’t even any greenhouse gas regulations on Canada’s fastest growing source of pollution ¨C the oil and gas sector (read: Tar Sands). The official numbers according to the government’s own data? Current and proposed policies for emissions reductions will result in a 7% increase over 2005 levels (that's ~33% above 1990 levels) instead of the promised 17% decrease.
2)The Government ramped up McCarthyist attacks on anyone worried about numbers like these. This has included outrageous attacks on civil society, First Nations and politicians, calling them radicals, terrorists, adversaries and enemies of the people of Canada. Amazingly, there have even been accusations that environmental groups writ large are money launderers.
(Have they seen our budgets? What's there to launder?)
3)And to make it even easier for them to do as little as possible, the 2012 federal budget bill contained “a few additional items” for quick passage without democratic debate. These included the complete repeal of Canada’s environmental assessment act and a thorough gutting of decades of environmental regulations. These deletions were misrepresented as “streamlining” of approvals processes for projects such as massive pipelines that, if built, would allow the projected tripling of tar sands growth that the government is so desperate for. It is streamlining all right ¨C streamlining the path towards climate catastrophe.
The only thing the Canadian example will prove, with its fragile Arctic, vulnerable coasts and tarred economy, is that you can't withdraw from climate change.