Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper will be attending the Copenhagen Conference after all, it was announced yesterday, one day after Harper had said he wasn’t going to be attending. No reason was given for the flip-flop. At recent climate change conferences such as Bali, Canada has sided with the old U.S. administration, Australia, and Japan to block serious 2020 emission reduction targets. The other delegates at the Bali conference went so far as to boo the U.S. delegation. Finally, the delegate from Papua New Guinea, Kevin Conrad, challenged the U.S.:
“If you are not willing to lead, then get out of the way.”
To see footage of the Bali conference and Kevin Conrad’s rebuke to the U.S. (and by association, Canada, Australia, and Japan) click here.
Remember, it was in Bali that Canada was awarded the “Fossil of the Day” gold medal, the U.S. got the silver, and the two countries together shared the bronze! These are awarded to the nations that were most active in blocking, stalling, or undermining the UN climate change negotiations. While the other countries Canada sided with – the U.S., Australia, and Japan – have all had a change in leadership, here in Canada we are blessed to have the Harper Conservatives once again leading our nation’s delegation. And they are insisting that Canada is working on the international front “actively and constructively through the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change to develop an effective international agreement to address climate change in the post-2012 period.” (personal correspondence from David McGovern, Assistant Deputy Minister, Canadian International Affairs Branch). Mind you, this is what they insisted at Bali, as well. As the Toronto Star said of Canada at Bali:
It is hard to argue that one is building bridges when they so obviously lead nowhere.
What can Canadians do?
- Encourage Prime Minister Harper and Environment Minister Jim Prentice, to commit to a real, fair, and binding treaty on emissions in Copenhagen in 10 days.
- Go to Moms Against Climate Change and upload a picture of your under-18 child or children to remind Harper who he is representing at Copenhagen.
- Organize or join a “Vigil for Survival” on December 11 or 12.
- Donate to Avaaz.org’s campaign to raise money to fund delegates from poorer, climate-vulnerable nations to Copenhagen.
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” ~ Margaret Mead