Yesterday at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper gave a speech that called on world leaders to embrace an “enlightened sovereignty” that puts the overall global good ahead of each country’s immediate self-interest. However, according to this report in Canadian Business:
…within minutes of introducing the idea Thursday in a major foreign policy speech at the Davos World Economic Forum, Harper had to fend off suggestions that he’s being short-sighted on climate change.
Other leaders countered that, contrary to Harper’s assertions that tackling climate change will hurt a country’s economy, addressing it can actually make a country’s economy grow.
“There’s nothing that leads us to believe it would cause lower economic growth,” said Spanish Prime Minister Jose Zapatero, seated near Harper before an audience of business executives, politicians and renowned thinkers.
The other leaders participating in a round-table discussion with Harper suggested that putting the economy before environment is too short-sighted – exactly the kind of approach he critiqued in his keynote speech.
South African President Jacob Zuma said the wait-and-see approach to climate change doesn’t work for developing countries that face droughts and flooding.
Mexican President Felipe Calderon also disagreed with Harper’s approach. He stated:
“The cost of doing nothing now is higher than to take actions today.“
Spanish Prime Minister Zapatero also reminded Harper:
“Without a concerted effort to find ways to cut emissions “our future is very dark.”