These two principles mean two things:
First of all, “engaging and seeking commitments from all major economies” means that the Harper government has stated that there is no point in Canada developing its own climate change policy, instead it will follow the U.S.’s lead. In January, 2010, Environment Minister Jim Prentice announced that Canada’s targets were going to be the same as the U.S.’s – by 2020 Canada would reduce emissions by 17 per cent from 2005 levels. Prentice left some “wiggle room” to adjust the emission targets downward in case the Markey-Waxman bill doesn’t get passed by the U.S. Senate.
These two principles also mean that Canada won’t do anything unless everybody else is also reducing their carbon emissions, including the poorer, less developed nations. The Harper government is saying that China, India, Africa, etc have to get on board and reduce their carbon emissions the same way we do, or we’re not going to reduce ours. This approach completely ignores that fact that Canada, like other industrialized countries, has been burning carbon – and creating the problem we find ourselves in – to fuel our economy for 200 years. That’s why we’re rich and the other countries are poor. Who has contributed most this problem? Canada and other rich Western countries like the United States, Australia, and the E.U. Yet Canada expects equity about emission reduction, when there hasn’t been the same equity with regard to polluting the atmosphere or the benefits of that pollution (wealth).
Increasingly, the developed nations are leading the charge against climate change. The 2010 Climate Change Performance Index (CCPI) states, for example, that:
This year, the increased commitment in climate politics of the big newly industrializingn countries India, Mexico, South Africa and China is particularly remarkable – Brazil also caught up in this category.
Canada is one of the top 10 emitters in the world. We needs to stop pointing our fingers at other nations and clean up our own backyard. The same 2010 CCPI report says:
Negative examples are especially the USA, Canada, and Australia. These countries have a particularly large responsibility and a large potential to reduce their emissions.