Monday, December 05, 2011

Sad day to be Canadian

The world’s governments have been meeting in Durban, South Africa for this year’s United Nations’ climate summit (Nov 28 – Dec 9). Sadly, our Canadian government is making a very poor showing. Yesterday Canada reaffirmed that it will not sign up to fresh commitments under the Kyoto Protocol. And rumours are that we not only will not recommit, but we will also formally withdraw from the Protocol. Shameful.

As with so much that is happening under this Conservative government, this is not the Canada I want.

We are one of the world’s top ten greenhouse gas emitters. Our cold climate and spread out populace certainly doesn’t help, but neither does our government’s unwillingness to take firm measures to cap carbon output or reduce our dependence on fossil fuels.

Although urgent action is needed to slash greenhouse gas emissions and invest in measures to counter and address climate change, Harper’s government is reneging on Kyoto agreements and digging in its heels when it comes to making any real change.

According to ECO - a publication published by Non-Governmental Environmental Groups at major conferences since 1972, “Canada is negotiating in extremely bad faith” in Durban and “is acting on behalf of polluters, not people”.

Peter Kent, Canada’s Environment Minister, said it will stick by the Copenhagen and Cancun agreements (which are not legally binding) to try to prevent global warming from achieving or exceeding two degrees Celsius. Though it’s a measurable goal, but not binding countries to any actions to achieve this goal, I don’t see how it will be effective. Kyoto is the only accord that specifies curbs in greenhouse gases.

Under the Kyoto Protocol, Canada agreed to cut C02 emissions to 6% below the 1990 levels by next year. Instead, our emissions have continued to increase. By backing out of the Protocol, Canada will also be reneging on paying the penalties for missing its targets.

Canada isn’t the only country which won’t renew the Kyoto vows – Japan and Russia are also backing away from commitments. The U.S. has never signed on.

What with our shameful showing the Durban and the passing of the omnibus crime bill today in Parliament, it is a sad day to be Canadian.

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