Yes, it’s the annual UN Climate negotiations, which means that it’s time for Canada to start receiving its Fossil awards. This comes as no surprise to any Canadians who pay attention to what our current federal government is up to in Ottawa these days. It’s clear that they are dinosaurs in every sense of the word except DNA, and are intent on dragging our once proud and progressive nation back into the 20th Century.
Climate Action Network reports that Canada was singled out on climate finance in Doha with a first place Fossil Of The Day:
Canada was awarded the first place fossil of the day today in Qatar for Environment Minister Peter Kent’s dismissive approach to supporting climate action in poorer countries.
In media interviews yesterday, Minister Kent confirmed Canada’s intention not to contribute new funding in Doha to help poorer countries tackle climate change, saying that Doha “isn’t a pledging conference.”
In a letter to civil society groups, Minister Kent said that Canada does not support providing funding for emission reductions through the new Green Climate Fund – a fund that has been a major accomplishment of recent UN climate talks – until “a new agreement applicable to all…can be adopted by all parties.” Read full press release here.
Elizabeth May, leader of the Green Party of Canada, put it this way yesterday:
When it comes to progress on climate change negotiations, the best thing for Canada to do is to stay home and stop sabotaging the process, says the leader of the Green Party.
“Canada continues to be a country that pushes other countries to do less. Our role is not just an embarrassment, it’s reckless and brings our once good national reputation into disrepute,” argued Elizabeth May at a news conference in Ottawa today.”
As the COP 18 climate talks continue in Doha this week, this video is a good reminder of why Canada has been the winner of Consecutive Fossil of the Year Awards from 2006 – present. Fossil Of The Year awards go to “the country who has done the most to disrupt or undermine the UN climate talks.”
Canada is trying to hit one out of the ballpark with a brazen attempt to re-brand some of the world’s dirtiest and most dangerous oil as “ethical”. They’ve even got Oprah Winfrey’s Network to feature their ads. If we pull it off, there’s no reason to stop there. If an “ethical” brand make-over can make our tar sands smell sweet, just imagine how many other profitable, but deadly, industries it can pry open for us. Click here to read the full column.
Today’s guest blogger is Ani, a member of the Canadian Youth Delegation representing Manitoba at the Durban climate conference. Ani works as a Public Education and Outreach Coordinator for Climate Change Connection, a project of the Manitoba Eco-Network. To read more about Ani, visit her info page at YouthDelegateManitoba.wordpress.com.
While I’m experiencing my first day at COP 17 and struggle to figure out why the rooms are named after plants, materials and geographical locations and wonder why no one has provided me with a giant map of the Conference Centre, my email inbox filled up with rumors about Canada preparing to withdraw from the Kyoto Protocol next month.
I felt inspired by Christiana Figueres (Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change) opening remarks during the plenary reminding countries to reassure that they are committed to work towards a real deal quoting Nelson Mandela – “It seems impossible, until it is done.” Only a few minutes later it was confirmed that Canada plans to pull out of the Kyoto Protocol, the only legally binding emissions agreement, early next month. Peter Kent declared to the Canadian Press that he is coming into the negotiations ready “to play hardball with developing countries.” For some reason I thought it was those developing countries who should be playing hardball with developed countries.
Following these developments the day ended with the fossil of the day award. Both, First and Second Place were earned by Canada for failing to support a second commitment period and undermining the value of the Kyoto Protocol. Rounding out the awards, the United Kingdom received Third Place for helping to move tar sands oil into Europe.
We are heading towards more than one global crisis – peak oil and climate change are going to change our world dramatically and quickly, in ways we can’t even imagine at this point. And there’s yet another economic and political crisis looming in the U.S., as the Obama administration goes head to head with the Rethuglicans over draconian budget measures to cut bloated U.S. government spending. Here in Canada we are in the middle of a federal election where the words “climate change” and “sustainability” have barely been mentioned.
Ironically, Stephen Harper seems to be touting Copenhagen as a victory for Canada’s climate change policy – talk about putting his own spin on things! As Elizabeth May pointed out, Copenhagen is “an expedient device for some industrialized countries to avoid their responsibilities”, and it was where Canada swept the “fossil of the day” awards throughout the conference, and ended up being awarded the “Colossal Fossil” for:
“…for bringing a totally unacceptable position into Copenhagen and refusing to strengthen it one bit. Canada’s 2020 target is among the worst in the industrialized world, and leaked cabinet documents revealed that the governments is contemplating a cap-and-trade plan so weak that it would put even that target out of reach.
“Canada has made zero progress here on financing, offering nothing for the short term or the long term beyond vague platitudes. And in last night’s high-level segment, Canada’s environment minister gave a speech so lame that it didn’t include a single target, number or reference to the science.
“Canada’s performance here in Copenhagen builds on two years of delay, obstruction and total inaction. This government thinks there’s a choice between environment and economy, and for them, tar sands beats climate every time. Canada’s emissions are headed nowhere but up. For all this and more, we name Canada the Colossal Fossil.”
Only a politician completely out of touch with the basics of climate science as well as the global push to address this crisis (and who is betting that Canadians are equally as out of it) would tout Copenhagen, and Canada’s feeble reduction targets, as victories in the fight against climate change!
The climate crisis is urgent, Canada has the lowest emission reduction targets in the industrialized world, and even the plan to reach those unacceptable targets have not been verified by an independent third-party. Stephen Harper, and his buddies in the Alberta oil patch, are not going to move Canada towards a low-carbon future. Climate change is the single largest challenge that faces our country today, and Stephen Harper is dangerously lacking in vision and, frankly, basic common sense! Every day that Stephen Harper remains prime minister threatens our children’s future. His economic policy is not grounded in any recognition of how Canadians, like every other person on this globe, depend on clean air, clean water, and a stable climate to thrive in every way, including economically.
How can our politicians ignore the science on the climate crisis? We have a rapidly closing window to address this issue. And yes, it requires courage to tackle climate change, but if we don’t act very soon, we are going to slip into that land of runaway global warming where nothing that humanity can do to change it will be enough. I echo Elizabeth May’s question to all the federal party leaders:
How do you aspire to the name “leader” when you are afraid to address the biggest challenge that we face?