The United States has dominated COP22 headlines with orange becoming the new black. However, ECO noticed there is another corner of North America that has a key role to play in negotiations. Yes, we are looking at you, Canada. ECO waits with bated breath to see how consistent Canada will be with their policy and action.
It was thrilling to see Canada involved in hammering out the Paris Agreement last year. Their efforts now mean that eyes are on them to help ensure they get the details right at COP22, the time for implementation. To date, the delegation has been constructive in negotiations, aiming to get the necessary pieces in place by 2018. Canada has also been heard on the boulevard of Bab Ighli heralding a Pan-Canadian Climate Plan it is developing to meet its 2030 commitments.
While ECO is very pleased to see such progress, apparent contradictions between Canada’s climate policy leadership and energy infrastructure decisions dampen our joy quite a bit. Canada recently approved a controversial liquefied natural gas project, and rumour has it that other polluting projects are in the pipeline.
No conference is complete without a heckler, and this one has been no different: Earth Institute Director Jeffrey D. Sachs warned that it is not acceptable for a country like Canada to dream of decarbonising its own economy while making a living from oil and gas exploitation. Although carbon sequestration is part of the plan, it must be clear that offsetting and compensating will not do the trick here. Canada must not behave like a “drug pusher of fossil fuels to the rest of the world,” said Sachs.
ECO suggests it is time for Canada to do some soul searching. Their leadership is needed now more than ever, and it can’t be destabilised by internal contradiction. Instead of merely offsetting their emissions, ECO urges Canada to instead offset the devolution proposed by their neighbouring North American country by being consistent with their commitments. There’s no point in having a cool and charming Prime Minister if you don’t deliver when it comes to the real deal.