11 December 2009
Canada’s government must be working overtime chatting up reporters here in Copenhagen. The news they’re so eager to spread is that, according to Yvo de Boer, Canada has been “negotiating very constructively” this week.
The Canadian delegation is obviously as surprised as we are that anyone has good things to say about Canada, the home of one of the weakest mid-term emission targets in the industrialised world.
It cannot be Canada’s record on Kyoto compliance that impressed the UNFCCC’s chief official. (In case anyone has forgotten: Canada’s emissions are now a solid 34% above that pesky Kyoto target.) The lack of financing pledge probably hasn’t won Canada any new friends either.
We also doubt de Boer was impressed by Canada’s decision to show up in Copenhagen without a serious plan for domestic emissions reductions. (Note to Canada: “waiting for the US” is not actually a plan. Nor is “massively expanding the tar sands.”)
But maybe the Executive Secretary was just anticipating even worse behaviour with the arrival of Canadian Environment Minister Jim Prentice this weekend. That would be the environment minister who recently vowed not to “be a Boy Scout” at the negotiating table, and swore not to “panic” when faced with the “hype and drama” of Copenhagen. In other words, the world better get used to Canada being the laggard.
This is the same Minister who dismissed a reduction target of 25% below 1990 levels for 2020 in Canada as “divisive” and “irresponsible” — even though a study has shown that Canada could meet this target while growing its economy by over 20% and creating nearly two million net new jobs.
If this is what constructive looks like, we’d hate to see destructive.