The Leadership Development Program (LDP) is one of CAN’s cornerstone programs that aims to strengthen its national and regional nodes and build professional leadership within the network....
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
• 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
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.
ECO thought that leaving the gray winter chill for sunny weather here in Cancun,
Canada wouldn’t want to hide behind an
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.
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!
Go Europe! It’s been a while since the EU came up with anything new on the climate front, so ECO is delighted to reveal that the Commission published a paper just last week, demonstrating unequivocally that a -30% target (from 1990 levels) is not only possible, but easily possible for Europe. All the same, the paper doesn’t go anywhere as far as is achievable. The -40% target, which would finally push the agenda toward real ambition, has not even been analyzed (for shame!). And the -30% target is based on the assumption that a mere 50-50 chance of staying below a rather uncomfortably balmy 2º C increase is adequate -- but let’s not quibble too much. At least the EU, unlike, say, Canada, is looking at the option of increasing its pledge, and that is progress. Even though the Commission's economic analysis does not take into account all additional benefits, it is still very clear that there is no reason at all why the EU cannot increase its pledge. Even better, it should agree that the -30% should be done completely through domestic action, so that it is on its way to becoming a near-zero carbon society by 2050. The Commission’s paper provides the facts on which Member States will base their decisions on whether or not to unilaterally take on the higher target. This should happen at the EU Heads of State summit in September. If you, like us, want to see the EU break away from business as usual at -20%, here are a couple items to mention to any EU delegate you pass in the hallway here in Bonn. * First, ask them to ensure that every European Head of State reads the Commission analysis. The figures in the paper show that there is no real impediment, financial or otherwise, to a unilateral EU move to -30%. * Second, since the most recent data show current emissions already at 14% below 1990 levels, the EU is already halfway to reaching -30%. * Finally, EU international climate leadership has always had the most impact when leading from the front, as demonstrated with EU-led initiatives like the 2o C limit and fast-start finance. ECO expects EU delegates will be delighted to express their commitment to EU leadership on climate change, so don’t be shy!
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