Globe: Canada climate hypocrite; "most uncooperative" nation at Bali

Discussion in 'Politics & Diplomacy' started by 299 bloor call control., Dec 10, 2007.

  1. 299 bloor call control.

    299 bloor call control. Senior Member

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    Canada climate hypocrite, UN envoy suggests
    GEOFFREY YORK
    Globe and Mail Update
    December 10, 2007 at 10:50 AM EST
    NUSA DUA, Indonesia — Canada is under mounting attack at the Bali climate-change conference, putting it on the defensive as the conference begins its final week of negotiations.

    Yvo de Boer, head of the United Nations climate-change agency, said Canada seems to be hypocritical in what it demands from other countries.

    "I personally find it interesting to hear Canada just a little while ago indicating it would not meet its commitments under the Kyoto protocol and now calling on developing countries to take binding reduction targets," he told a press conference today at the Bali climate-change conference.

    "So I wonder how that's going to be received," he added.

    The latest criticism of Canada's position is coming from respected scientists and from fellow negotiators at the conference.

    Rajendra Pachauri, head of the climate science panel that was awarded a Nobel Peace Prize today, has blasted the Harper government for its climate stance.

    "This particular government has been a government of skeptics," said Mr. Pachauri, chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which shared the Nobel Prize with Al Gore.

    "They do not want to do anything on climate change," he added in a published interview in New Delhi.

    Su Wei, a senior Chinese delegate at the Bali negotiations, said Canada and Japan are emerging as the most uncooperative nations at the climate talks. In an interview with the Financial Times on the weekend, the Chinese negotiator said Canada was particularly uncooperative in its opposition to binding commitments to force industrialized nations to cut their emissions.

    The governments of Ontario and Quebec, meanwhile, are trying to dissociate themselves from the Harper government. At the Bali conference today, Ontario environment minister John Gerretsen and Quebec environment minister Line Beauchamp insisted that the Harper government does not speak for their provinces — and they will spread that message to other countries at the Bali negotiations.

    Other countries have "realized that the Canadian position, as formulated by the federal government, is not necessarily endorsed by the people of Ontario," Mr. Gerretsen told reporters.

    Federal environment minister John Baird, asked about the criticism by the UN climate chief, was quick to blame the previous Liberal government. He said he agreed "unequivocally" with Mr. de Boer's criticism of the Canadian record. "Canada has talked the talk but it hasn't walked the walk," Mr. Baird said .

    "That's why we'll be judged by the actions we take, not be the promises and commitments that we make…. I can appreciate, when people look at the statistics, the huge increase that we've seen, it's natural that they're skeptical."
     
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  2. 299 bloor call control.

    299 bloor call control. Senior Member

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    Canada assailed from all sides for its stance at Bali climate talks
    46 minutes ago
    BALI, Indonesia - The Canadian government was pounded with criticism from every quarter at the UN climate talks as the summit chief and provincial members of its own delegation joined environmentalists, foreign negotiators and leading scientists in a chorus of condemnation.
    They attacked Canada's plan to reject any future climate treaty unless it sets emissions targets for all major polluters.
    Environment Minister John Baird held firm Monday to his view that any successor treaty to the Kyoto Protocol can only work if it sets binding conditions on countries including the United States, China, and India.
    With none of those countries agreeing to accept targets, environmentalists and opposition parties have been accusing Canada's Conservative government of poisoning the climate talks in Bali.
    Their legion of critics grew louder Monday.
    The UN climate chief all but accused Canada of being an environmental hypocrite.
    Yvo de Boer wondered how a rich country like Canada could abandon its own targets under Kyoto, then demand that developing ones like China and India adopt obligations.
    "I personally find it interesting," de Boer told a news conference, "to hear Canada, just a little while ago, indicating it would not meet its commitments under the Kyoto protocol, and now calling on developing countries to take binding reduction targets ..."
    "I wonder how that's going to be received."
    The criticism also came from the Canadian government's own backyard. Cabinet ministers from two of Canada's largest provinces arrived at the summit and repudiated the bargaining position of their national government.
    Quebec's Line Beauchamp and Ontario's John Gerretsen made it clear that Ottawa does not speak for the two provinces, which together represent almost two-thirds of the Canadian population.
    They urged Ottawa to take on what they call Canada's historic leadership role and set an example for others.
    "If the U.S. is not willing to sign on, does that mean nobody should sign on?" Gerretsen asked rhetorically, with Beauchamp by his side at a news conference.
    "We don't like this attitude."
    Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty chimed in from Toronto.
    "I think it's a tiresome debate for us as Canadians to be saying, 'You know, the Chinese and the Indians aren't there yet'," McGuinty said. "Well, most of the stuff that's up there is the result of emissions produced by the developed world."
    "We shouldn't be dragging our feet. We shouldn't be reluctant. We should be ambitious," he said.
    "What Canadians want their government to do is lead on this score, and we're not leading - we're following. Worse than that, we're hindering."
    Ottawa has been adamant that it will reject any climate deal without binding targets on all major emitters.
    The Conservative government contends any climate deal without China, India, and the United States would be useless to stem emissions, and it's willing to hold out until it gets one, federal Environment Minister John Baird has said.
    The Tories point to statistics that those countries are responsible for the majority of the world's emissions, and that greenhouse gases would continue skyrocketing globally unless they move to reduce them.
    Federal officials have called it illogical for Canada to launch climate-change negotiations, which could take years to complete, by promising to sign any deal from the outset.
    One official described that approach as a weak negotiating strategy that would ultimately result in a worse deal for Canada and for the environment.
    The Conservatives say they want to avoid the trap they contend the previous Liberal government fell into in Kyoto, Japan, in 1997 where some countries played hardball while Canada was so desperate to get a deal that it accepted an impossible target.
    The Conservatives also say their position is being distorted by environmentalists and foreign governments.
    Canadian officials said they don't expect all countries - including China and India - to be held to the same targets as rich ones. Canada agrees that the fast-growing economies of the developing giants will require more flexibility and longer-term targets.
    Baird has met with de Boer and explained that Canada is not holding out for a deal that would impose identical targets on everyone.
    But the UN climate boss is not the only prominent figure at Bali to express regret at Canada's position.
    The head of the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Rajendra Pachauri, accused Canada's government of being climate-change skeptics.
    The head of the German delegation said the Canadian position is not constructive.
    A senior Chinese diplomat has called the Canadians and Japanese the most unco-operative of all countries.
    A hall of shame at the conference site - where environmental groups hand out a so-called fossil award for each day's three worst performers - is sprinkled with maple leaves. Last weekend, Canada won all three fossil awards on the same day.
    One European journalist who spotted a group of Canadian colleagues jokingly quipped: How does it feel to be the bad guy?
    Someone appears determined to make life difficult for the Canadian government at Bali.
    The government plans to make a feel-good funding announcement every day of the summit, and someone has been leaking the entire schedule to the opposition Liberals.
    An aide to Liberal Leader Stephane Dion held up his Blackberry to show multimillion-dollar government announcements on aid for poor countries, for Canadian communities struggling with climate-change problems and on cash for the UN's Clean Development Mechanism.
    He joked that Dion, a former environment minister, still has many friends at the summit.
     
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  3. 299 bloor call control.

    299 bloor call control. Senior Member

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    This article is interesting because it very clearly shows that the Conservatives are "believing" in Climate Change now only because if they didn't they'd lose a hell of a lotta votes.... They shut down an identical program last year (pre-believing in climate change) only to start up a pretty much identical program to say that "they're doing something" about it, unlike those damn Liberals. I also find this article amusing because it's written by Canwest and actually talks about the Conservative hypocrisy

     
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  4. 299 bloor call control.

    299 bloor call control. Senior Member

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    And it's not isolated to Canadian news outlets.. and with the BBC saying that opposition is being LED by us? Yikes.

     
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  5. unimaginative2

    unimaginative2 Senior Member

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    Wow. Thanks for posting these. I'm glad it's finally making it into the press. It's no surprise. Canada also led the defense of Wolfowitz as the head of the World Bank.
     
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  6. AlvinofDiaspar

    AlvinofDiaspar Moderator

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    So Baird says, "That's why we'll be judged by the actions we take, not be the promises and commitments that we make..."

    From the Globe:

    Business gets a voice on Canadian delegation at Bali
    Environmentalists and MPs excluded by Ottawa cry foul over federal government's decision to give executives a place at the table

    GEOFFREY YORK

    From Monday's Globe and Mail

    December 10, 2007 at 3:26 AM EST

    NUSA DUA, INDONESIA — After banishing environmentalists and opposition MPs from Canada's delegation to the Bali climate conference, Ottawa has decided to allow an oil company and several business executives to join the official delegation.

    Two companies from Ottawa, where Environment Minister John Baird is an MP, have been allowed to join Canada's official delegation to the climate-change conference, according to documents obtained by The Globe and Mail.

    A major oil and gas producer, EnCana Corp. of Calgary, was also permitted to join the delegation.

    By joining the Canadian delegation, the corporations could influence Canada's position at the Bali conference, where about 190 countries are trying to hammer out a new agreement to replace the Kyoto accord to solve the global-warming crisis.

    Last month, the government announced that environmental groups and opposition MPs would not be welcome in the official delegation at Bali, despite a long-standing tradition of including them in Canadian delegations to international meetings. Aboriginal groups were also banned from the delegation.

    Among those included on the Canadian delegation are four executives of Iogen Corp., a biotechnology company that produces cellulose ethanol, and PlascoEnergy Group Inc., a waste conversion company.

    Both are based in Ottawa, and both have received substantial federal money. Iogen was given $7.7-million by the federal government last February, while Plasco has received $6.5-million from the federal government.

    Plasco's CEO is Rod Bryden, former owner of the Ottawa Senators of the National Hockey League.

    By joining the official Canadian delegation, the companies will gain a series of privileges, including access to government briefings and closed-door sessions at the Bali conference.

    A senior government official confirmed that the three companies are included in the Canadian delegation. “These three companies are good examples of new, exciting and innovative Canadian technology,” he said. “It's impossible to bring everyone, but we're happy that these companies are here as examples of Canadian technology to fight climate change.”

    Those excluded from the Canadian delegation are crying foul. They say it is unfair and inconsistent for the government to invite business leaders after excluding environmentalists and MPs.

    “The government has thrown off anyone with a critical viewpoint, and they're not sharing their views with anyone in civil society,” said Emilie Moorhouse, atmosphere and energy campaigner at the Sierra Club of Canada.

    “They're deciding their policies at the exclusion of the representatives of civil society and the majority of MPs. It reflects a huge lack of transparency in the government. All voices within Canadian society should be consulted and represented.”

    Dale Marshall, climate-change policy analyst at the David Suzuki Foundation, said the government has never properly explained why it decided to ban environmentalists from the delegation.

    “It's in the government's interest to have a wider range of views represented,” he said.

    Nathan Cullen, the NDP environment critic, said he eventually gained access to the Bali conference by getting registered as a “non-governmental organization.” He said he requested permission to join the Canadian delegation, but the government never explained why it refused to include him.

    While banning environmentalists and opposition MPs from its Bali delegation, the government did decide to set up an “advisory panel” whose members include former Quebec premier Pierre Marc Johnson; Mary Simon, president of the Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami; Ian Morton, chief executive officer of Summerhill Group; and Elizabeth Dowdeswell, former chief of the United Nations Environment Programme.

    Meanwhile, Canada has announced a boost in funding for a global fund designed to help poor countries deal with climate change.

    The new $7.5-million contribution makes Canada the second-largest donor to the Global Environment Facility's climate-change fund, federal officials said.

    With a report from Canadian Press
    ______________________________________________

    Well, actions does speak louder than words indeed. Shame. In addition, stop blaming the Liberals - it's been 2 years and what has Canada's New Government done, so far? As Stephaine Dion said - "recycling" - old initiatives that is, a year after canning them.

    AoD
     
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  7. 299 bloor call control.

    299 bloor call control. Senior Member

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    I really wished that all this stuff either came out tomorrow or the sentencing for Conrad Black was delayed... thanks to the Black story, none of this was really reported in the news... and i'm sure it would have made lead story if there wasn't anything to talk about for Black.
     
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  8. 299 bloor call control.

    299 bloor call control. Senior Member

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    uhhh.. yeah.... the National tonight featured about 10 minutes at the beginning on Conrad Black... and to my... I have no words... shock? dismay? *whha???*, hired actor Ken Welsh to read Conrad's statement in court today.... this is the flagship CBC news program... and they use 5 minutes of it to have an actor read Black's statement? Wtf...

    oh yeah, they did mention Canada in Bali today... for a total of 15 seconds... and it was Baird repeating himself again on binding targets. 15 seconds on the most important issue facing mankind... 5 minutes of an actor reading a speech. On the national news.

    .......
     
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  9. Hydrogen

    Hydrogen post-young

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    One of the major issues is that the United States, Canada, Japan and Australia want developing countries including China and India to commit to cuts in emissions. Representatives from those new industrial countries and others like them are refusing to go along with that idea saying that only the older industrialized nations should be cutting their emissions. China is now the largest source of greenhouse emissions, and those emissions are growing.

    If this is issue is so dire, then why would any representative who believes in this issue be fighting to have his or her country excluded? Not only that, the countries demanding exclusion from binding targets (or any emission reductions) would only be increasing their emissions over time - and at an ever more rapid rate for the near future. If they are accusing other industrialized nations of putting their economies first, then these countries would appear to be doing exactly the same thing. Add to that, they would be constructing the very infrastructure that would have to be disassembled at a later date and at great cost to them.

    The idea that only the industrialized countries have a responsibility to act is a little empty in the face of the rhetoric surrounding this issue.
     
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  10. unimaginative2

    unimaginative2 Senior Member

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    Hardly. The impact of carbon emissions in the atmosphere is cumulative. It will take decades for China and India to catch up to the cumulative emissions of the industrialized nations over the past 150 years. It's quite reasonable that they be given a break at first.
     
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  11. Hydrogen

    Hydrogen post-young

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  12. Hydrogen

    Hydrogen post-young

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    The decreases in the already industrialized nations will make little or no difference in light of the increasing emissions in other countries. Again, following the rhetoric, why should anyone have a break? If this issue is so important to the world, why should certain countries be given a pass?
     
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  13. 299 bloor call control.

    299 bloor call control. Senior Member

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    I think it's very simple. We in the western world, we have the means and the ability to easily cut our emissions. Wealth is extremely concentrated in our countries, and that's not simply in financial terms, but in knowledge and power as well. Nations such as China and India, on the other hand, although they are coming of age in the globalized economy and increasing in wealth, the majority of their populations are still living in poverty, and these countries are fighting just to keep up with the growth that us, as western nations are demanding of them, in terms of producing the products we consume and essentially, cheap labour. This is while they are struggling to provide even the basic necessities of human life, such as clean water. It is because of the west that these nations are developing at such a rapid and unsustainable rate, and it's simply unfair for us to demand things like binding targets on them when they aren't ready in so many senses of the word.
    In the west, on the other hand, we have the excess wealth to make these changes to reduce our emissions in real terms now. The technology for the most part, is already there. It can be said that we are choosing to continue to behave in an unsustainable fashion, particularly here in North America. This is while we have the brightest minds in the world, with the most wealth in the world, when we can easily develop and implement ways of improving the environment... and then subsequently we can hand our knowledge and solutions down to the developing world. We already do this, with Canadian developed CANDU reactors in China and India providing nuclear energy to reduce the reliance on coal. The research and technology behind carbon sequestration, developed in the western world, is being used throughout the developing world to reduce the impact of coal energy. Did the western world have this technology a century ago when we were burning coal? No.
    It is worrying, though, of the potential threat that China and India have on emissions in the future. Though when you continue to look at per-capita, not absolute, emissions, both countries are far behind the States, Canada, and Europe. China has 13-million cars in a population of 1.2 billion. Yes, this number is exploding, but on a per capita basis, much lower than the west. And again, the application of new technologies is in these vehicles to start, with China adopting Ultra Low Emissions Standards that make even Canada look backwards.

    At the heart of the argument, is we, as the west, have to do what is right for the world and stop being so damn greedy. Just making good choices here will in turn improve the developing world's chances. If we reduce our reliance on foreign products and goods, there will be less pressure on China in particular to expand so quickly. Again, it's what is right, and it pains me to see our country's representatives not seeing the logic in what thousands of scientists, environmentalists, and other politicians are saying.
     
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  14. Hydrogen

    Hydrogen post-young

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    Interesting response 299 bloor control,

    First off, to say that it is simple and that we have the means to cut emissions is the belie the actual and significant difficulties in doing so. While wealth may be concentrated to a greater or lesser degree in Western nations, it is not endless wealth. Governments face responsibilities over many priorities, not just one. The emission targets set out by Kyoto and beyond will have a very considerable price tag, and that price will affect virtually everyone at ever level - and these effects will go beyond borders as well. This fact must be recognized.

    Still, if this issue is so dire as defined by the rhetoric surrounding it, then why shouldn't all nations be making cuts? Is this not a global issue? Why should a plan that repudiates the past and present actions of some nations at the same time reinforce exactly the same dependencies for others?

    Any emission cuts made by Western nations will be cancelled out by the increased emissions in newly industrialized countries. As of the present, there are no viable plans to meet the emission cut numbers proposed for Western countries. There is a high likelihood that these countries (including Canada) will not be able to meet their targets. This fact is just not mentioned in the present because it is always politically expedient to make a promises in the present, and then to let the future deal with it.

    Where?

    The point is that the numbers will continue to grow. And the primary number of concern is always the absolute emissions. As for vehicles and ultra-low emission standards, these are all promissory notes to the future.
     
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  15. unimaginative2

    unimaginative2 Senior Member

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    Of course it would make a difference. Instead of growing by 100% or more, emissions could stay stable or even decline slightly. That's certainly a logical fallacy. Emissions cuts in industrialized countries won't be "cancelled out". They'll still happen. Emissions wouldn't decline as rapidly as they could if poorer nations cut simultaneously, but the latter is far more difficult as they're far less able to afford it.

    Good points, 299.
     
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