Tuesday, 13 December 2011
Kyoto, Bali, Cancun, now Durban – Are environmental leaders taking a vacation from delivering on real action?
We should be grateful that the world leaders have come to an agreement on climate change. Or did they? Be sure to weave your way through the conference website. http://unfccc.int/2860.php
The key point is in the fourth clause of the Conference of the Parties (17) President’s proposal for the establishment of an Ad Hoc working group, which supplements the work of the Ad Hoc working group on Long Term Cooperation that was established at COP 13 in Bali, that the Bali working group was to have completed its work this year and reporting out in 2011 but requires that its work be extended by at least one year.
4. Decides that the Ad Hoc Working Group on the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action shall complete its work as early as possible but no later than 2015 in order to adopt this protocol, legal instrument or agreed outcome with legal force at the twenty-first session of the Conference of the Parties and for it to come into effect and be implemented from 2020
Now, if that is not a bunch of bureaucratize – what is? It is the only saving of face that the conference can say it achieved. An agreement to discuss the possibility of setting up a structure that could be considered in advance of proposing some controls which might commence in a decade from now.
Canada’s performance at the conference can be described as anywhere from deplorable to despicable. One wonders if the current Minister of the Environment will be cheered by his caucus colleagues for his rogue capitalism, or sent packing into a new portfolio as the embarrassment that does not reflect majority public opinion. Even China has criticized the Minister's actions.
Regrettably it is not a time to be a proud Canadian. Canada’s dubious position of being 6th or 7th among the greenhouse gas emitting countries while ranking 35th in terms of population. Canada was one of the poorest performers of the Kyoto protocol signatories, and is the country that has openly abandoned continuation of the Kyoto targets.
Apparently even India, China and the US hinted that would try to achieve some targets although proof of such statements seems scarce.
Canada is a privileged country, relatively well off and certainly a magnet for opportunity. However just as individual inequity has continued to grow and contributes to the poorer health outcomes amongst Canadians, the inequitable distribution of wealth between countries expands and national impoverishment is becoming epidemic (we need only look to the debates within the European Union block on the consequences). The global health consequences will be borne by our children and grandchildren who are already the leaders in the Occupy movement and standing tall as protectors of the environment.Canada was renowned for its generosity, commitment to peace, and international collaborative efforts. Where are we headed now? As fortress North America further builds its security walls, it is expanding its disposal of waste into the air where those “downwind” of the slipstream will need to grapple most with the consequences, and setting fiscal direction that is hurtful within the fortress and dragging down the health of countries throughout the planet we share.