Tag: Canada

A fossil hat trick for Canada at the UN climate talks: if only the 'other' Canucks had such luck

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                                       9 June 2011
Bonn, Germany

Contact:
Hannah McKinnon
hmckinnon@climateactionnetwork.ca
Mobile: +1 613 276 7791
T: +1 613 241 4413

A fossil hat trick for Canada at the UN climate talks: if only the 'other' Canucks had such luck.

First Place Fossil is awarded to Canada. Guess what sector is Canada’s fastest-growing source of greenhouse gas emissions? That would be the tar sands, where emissions from digging up dirty oil have close to tripled since 1990.

Now guess which sector Canada decided not to report on in its most recent National Inventory Report? Yes, that would be the tar sands again...How could Canada’s government leave out such a crucial sector, you may ask? Well, when Canadian journalists did some digging, they found that tar sands emissions were higher than ever last year. We can’t let Canada’s oil-loving government slide off the hook for that little slip-up. For their tarry approach to transparency, we award Canada today’s first place fossil.

Canada also takes the Second Place Fossil. We’ve all seen it coming, but now Canada has made it official: they’re not willing to take a legally binding target under a second phase of Kyoto. Of course, it’s not like Canada contributed much to the first phase of Kyoto — their decision to walk away without even trying to hit their target puts them at the bottom of the Kyoto class.

The harsh truth? Canada’s track record of climate inaction shows that they need a binding target more than anyone. For failing to recognize that, and undermining this process in the process, we award Canada a second place fossil.

Third Place Fossil Goes to…Canada. While appreciating Canada's cajones (that is "courage" in Spanish) to make a presentation at today's mitigation workshop, the refusal to acknowledge what everyone else in Bonn knows has earned Canada today's
3rd place fossil.  For a long time it has been clear that Canada will not meet it's Kyoto target, yet in response to repeated questions this morning the best Canada could offer was that they could not possibly know until the end of the true up period in 2014. Canada must have its head stuck in the tar sands of Alberta.

About CAN: The Climate Action Network (CAN) is a worldwide network of roughly 700 Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) working to promote government and individual action to limit human0induced climate change to ecologically sustainable levels. www.climatenetwork.org  

About the fossils: The Fossil of the Day awards were first presented at the climate talks in 1999, in Bonn, initiated by the German NGO Forum. During United Nations climate change negotiations (www.unfccc.int), members of the Climate Action Network (CAN), vote for countries judged to have done their 'best' to block progress in the negotiations in the last days of talks.

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Umbrella Series Part 1: Canada and the Case of the Missing Tar Sands Emissions…

The tar sands are Canada’s fastest growing source of emissions.  While the country’s emissions in 2009 decreased overall, in large part due to the recession (as we know they ain’t doing nothing on the climate front), emissions from tar sands jumped a whopping 10-20%, and now account for 6.5% of Canada’s overall emissions. This means that emissions from Canada’s dirty oil sector have grown by over 250% since 1990, and with no federal action to keep them under control, the tar sands are poised to balloon even faster in the years to come. 

Where does ECO get these numbers from, you may ask?  You would think the answer is, of course, Canada’s 2009 National Inventory Report (published in 2011), but in fact, they come from investigative reporting by a Canadian journalist – which has been stirring up quite the press coverage in Canada, the US and even the UK.   It seems Canada opted not to report on emissions from tar sands this year, in contrast to their 2008 report (see tables 2-16 and 2-18). 

To be fair, Canada contends that the current UNFCCC guidelines do not require separate tar sand emissions reporting (though ECO will wait for the ERT report before commenting).  Their NIR does account for these emissions, but only under very broad categories like "Mining and Oil and Gas Extraction" or "Fugitive Emissions."  Yet, the nagging question remains:  Why the change, Canada?

ECO welcomes your 2008 NIR effort at transparency, but can only be a bit suspicious that you drop the data category a year later (when emission are on the rise).  After all, you are the only country to downgrade your target after Copenhagen and like to play number games with your targets (Canada’s new target of 17% below 2005 levels by 2020 is equal to a 3% increase above 1990 or 9% above that pesky Kyoto target compared to the country’s previous unilateral 2020 target of 20% below 2006 levels or 3% below 1990 levels). And it’s a bit convenient, shall we say, to drop sectoral numbers just when the government is talking about introducing sector-by-sector regulations.

In today’s mitigation workshop, ECO hopes Canada acknowledges that tar sands are its fastest growing sector and outlines how it plans to tackle those emissions — as well as those from the rest of the economy — with the speed and gusto required by ever-more-dire climate science.

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Canada’s Ice Cream Castles in the Air

It must be wonderful to live in the magical world of Canada’s environment file. In that enchanted land, a press release is the same as a law, and polluting for another 45 more years is the same thing as banning dirty coal.
You can tell Parliament and the media that you have published regulations to ban coal, but back in the normal world you’ve done nothing of the kind.
When asked in Parliament about his strategy for Cancun, the environment minister responded that Canada is the only country in the world with a real plan for banning coal-fired electricity generation and that he has 
already brought forward regulations to achieve that plan.
But let’s bring this back to reality.  There is no public plan and there are no regulations to ban coal. What the government has actually done is to announced that greenhouse gas emissions from coal-fired electricity generation will be regulated starting in 2015, and draft regulations will be issued in April 2011.
On the same day, Canada’s environment commissioner released a report stating, ‘The health of Canadians and Canada’s natural environment, communities, and economy are vulnerable to the impacts of a changing climate, and the government is not ready to respond to them’.
Canada should return from its little vacation in the reality distortion zone and rebuild the trust and transparency that are expected at these negotiations

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Canada Takes 1st Place Fossil of the Day for Supporting a “Zombie” Kyoto

Cancun, Mexico – Canada earned the 1 place Fossil of the Day for only supporting
the continuation of the Kyoto Protocol if it didn’t have to take on any pollution
reduction commitments for itself. This is Canada’s fourth Fossil, and second 1st place
Fossil, at the Cancun negotiations. On Monday, it took all three Fossils for a year
spent weakening its greenhouse gas reduction efforts. Canada currently has earned the
most Fossils of any country in the Cancun climate change talks.

The text of the award reads:

“Canada earns the 1st place Fossil. Yesterday we learned two things about Canada and
Kyoto:
• The UNFCCC Executive Secretary named Canada as one of the countries not
willing to commit to a second phase of Kyoto here in Cancun
• A Canadian negotiator told Climate Action Network Canada that ‘no one is
trying to kill Kyoto.’

To you and me, that might sound like a contradiction. But upon investigation, it
turned out that Canada is perfectly happy to see Kyoto continue — it just shouldn’t
have any targets in it. In other words, the patient isn’t dead: she’s just had her heart
removed. This chilling vision of a ‘zombie Kyoto’ earns Canada a first place Fossil.”

 

About CAN: The Climate Action Network is a worldwide network of roughly 500
Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) working to promote government and
individual action to limit human-induced climate change to ecologically sustainable
levels. www.climatenetwork.org

About the fossils: The Fossil of the Day awards were first presented at the climate
talks in 1999  in Bonn, initiated by the German NGO Forum. During United Nations
climate change negotiations (www.unfccc.int), members of the Climate Action
Network (CAN), vote for countries judged to have done their 'best' to block progress
in the negotiations in the last days of talks.

 

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Northern Lights?

ECO thought that leaving the gray winter chill for sunny weather here in Cancun, 
Canada wouldn’t want to hide behind an 
Umbrella.
Japan certainly has been taking a lot of heat this week for its objection to a second Kyoto commitment period. But Canada has been under wraps – until yesterday, when the Executive Secretary yanked the umbrella away and exposed their true position to daylight. For it seems Canada has been opposing a Kyoto renewal behind closed doors.
Canada has been silent about other things too. Last week, evidence surfaced that the Canadian government is running a coordinated advocacy strategy to stall climate change and energy policy in Europe and the US, the country whose energy path Canada claims to follow. And last month, Canada’s unelected Senate skipped debate and blocked major climate change legislation passed by the elected House of Commons.
It has not stopped at blocking policy, though. Canada is also obstructing science. Climate research funding has been slashed. Government scientists have been gagged. The country’s premier Arctic research vessel is being rented out for oil exploration.  Instead of falling, Canadian emissions have risen 30% since 1990. Canada was the only country to adopt targets under the Kyoto Protocol and then openly renounce them. Canada was the only country to return from Copenhagen last year and immediately weaken its emissions reductions targets. Canada’s government has made a habit of bad faith.
The citizens of Canada, however, consistently support climate action and the Kyoto Protocol in national polling. The environment has frequently been highlighted as the most important issue to Canadians, even while their government was wrecking it.
And ECO can’t avoid the thought that Canada might be better off with its delegation asleep on the beach.

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Canada Adrift

Let’s say you’re a tar sands loving North American government with a bit of a carbon dependency problem. You need a clever way to get away with doing nothing on climate change, and you notice that your neighbor to the south won’t have an easy time getting a cap-and-trade bill through its Congress.
For Canada’s Prime Minister, Stephen Harper, the solution surely seemed obvious: announce that you just can’t lift a finger to deal with climate change unless the U.S. moves first. As they say in Canada: problem solved, eh?
Not quite, as it turns out. With the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency moving to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from new industrial facilities starting in 2011, Harper’s plan of outsourcing climate policy to the U.S. meant that Canada would have to do the same.  That’s bad news for the tar sands (oil bearing deposits in central Canada), where plans for a massive expansion just don’t line up with pesky limits on their emissions.
Enter John Baird, Canada’s brand new – er, not so new – environment minister. (Veteran observers will remember him as the last minister in Bali to oppose the science-based target range of 25-40% below 1990 in 2020.)
Confronted about lining up with the neighbors to Canada’s south, Baird had some choice words: the US proposal is ‘patchwork’ and ‘very, very preliminary stuff’, covering ‘a small, tiny percentage of new plants’. Yes, that would be in contrast to Canada’s comprehensive proposal of doing nothing whatsoever for any percentage of its new plants.
And this isn’t the first time that Canada’s policy – 100% harmonized, as long as the US doesn’t do anything – has reared its ugly head. Internal emails from the Department of Foreign Affairs released yesterday show Canadian diplomats hard at work to ‘kill’ a 2007 US clean fuels policy. They enlisted allies at Exxon and other oil companies in the battle to, as they so lyrically put it, ‘keep the oil a-flowing’.  And when one official from Environment Canada pointed out that curbing tar sands emissions is a good thing, her comment was dismissed as ‘simply nutty’. Is it a coincidence that this sorry little episode took place the last time John Baird was environment minister?
Anyway, adding it up, it’s clear that Canada’s three-bagger of Fossils from the first day of the Cancun talks is the most appropriate way to welcome John Baird and the government he represents back to the negotiating table.  Oh, Canada – how could you!

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