Saturday, December 08, 2007

Bali Why

Why am I not surprised?

Blogging from Bali: The Other Canada

It does not seem that the Canadian government is playing a very constructive role at this conference thus far. Here are two examples. First, Canada refuses to commit to binding targets unless all major emitters accept binding targets - a position which goes against the principle underlying the UNFCCC, which is criticized by development economists, which has attracted opposition from China and which may lead to a negotiating impasse. Second, in sessions of the compliance committee, Canada has proposed that the countries who appoint representatives to lead enquiries regarding non-compliance should be responsible for their own travel and accommodation costs. Considering that Canada is likely to be the subject of such an enquiry, this position does not appear to be anything but defensive and self-interested.
Now that Australia has signed on to the Kyoto Accord it just leaves Steve and George to do their No Kyoto Bali Roadshow; that began at the Australian APEC meeting and ended last week in Africa at the Commonwealth meeting.

Which of course is a road to nowhere.

NUSA DUA, INDONESIA and OTTAWA — Canadian Environment Minister John Baird is urging delegates to the Bali climate change meetings to avoid "the same mistakes" made at Kyoto when large emitters like China and India weren't given binding targets to reduce carbon.

Mr. Baird, who left for the conference yesterday, said that the U.S. decision not to ratify Kyoto stemmed from the fact that large developing countries weren't obliged to sign on to targets.

"Many said that one of the big reasons Kyoto wasn't ratified is that there weren't binding targets on China and India," Mr. Baird said. "Ten years later, let's not make the same mistakes we made 10 years ago."

Yesterday, Canadian delegates to the United Nations conference were reported to have called for a "comprehensive review" of the fundamental "architecture" of the Kyoto treaty, provoking new questions about its commitment to the battle against global warming.

The wide-ranging review of Kyoto should assess its structure, its architecture, its "adequacy" in achieving its goals, and its key principles, such as the idea of differentiated responsibilities for different countries, a senior federal official said yesterday.

The official made the comments at a closed-door session at the conference in Bali. No news media were allowed at the session, but his comments were verified by environmental activists who attended.

The comments were made at a session where countries were assessing Kyoto's performance. But while some countries have called for a reconsideration of the accord, the Canadian delegation seemed to be calling for a much more far-reaching review than anything contemplated by other nations, the environmentalists said.

They said a sweeping re-examination of Kyoto could be a serious distraction at a time when the world is trying to hammer out a new climate-change agreement within the next two years to replace Kyoto when it expires in 2012.

Mr. Harper Goes to Bali

..."It's clear that Canada and Japan are talking to each other and using the same language. And Japan seems completely averse to doing anything without the United States."

Another environmentalist, Steven Guilbeault of the Équiterre group, said the Canadian position has been poorly received by most other countries. "It's a poison pill, and it makes a lot of countries very nervous," he said. "Canada is saying it wants to do less. Everyone is disappointed and appalled by it."

Japan and Canada have dominated the "Fossil of the Day awards" – sarcastic prizes given every day by environmentalists to the worst-performing nation at the Bali conference.

Mr. Guilbeault, who has been attending climate-change conferences for the past 12 years, says there is widespread suspicion among other countries that Canada may be trying to derail an agreement at Bali.

"The level of distrust toward Canada is at an all-time high," he said. "In 12 years, I've never seen such distrust.".
Canada accused of undermining climate talks

Canada is taking heat from activists at the Bali climate change conference, who are accusing it of undermining negotiations.

Climate Action Network Canada claims to have a document showing that Canada's negotiators have been instructed to demand that poorer nations accept the same binding, absolute reduction targets as developed nations.

"Canada is trying to rewrite history by putting the burden of emissions reductions on poorer countries," said spokesman Steven Guilbeault on Saturday in Bali, Indonesia.

However, Environment Minister John Baird -- who arrived in Bali on Saturday -- has said this past week that any new climate change agreement must include all the world's major carbon polluters and set binding targets.

CTV's Steve Chao, reporting from Bali, told Newsnet that a top UN official said earlier this week that Canada's government is a skeptic and that it doesn't want to do anything on climate change.

The activists say that the Kyoto Protocol is built on the recognition that industrialized countries are largely responsible for the greenhouse gas emissions that are causing climate change and must lead the reduction fight.

While emerging economies like China and India must slow their emissions growth, the activists say that they should not be subject to the same absolute reduction targets as developed countries.

Canada -- which has 0.4 per cent of the world's population yet produces two per cent of greenhouse gas emissions -- the United States and Australia are the world's biggest per capita emitters. Canada and the U.S. emitted about 20 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalents per capita in 2004.

In comparison, China emitted 3.8 tonnes and India 1.2 tonnes.

Canadians should be embarrassed by the actions of our PM and his Enviro-Flunky; John Baird, not the actions of those attending the Bali conference to give voice to Canadians real views, and paying for it out of their own pockets since the Conservatives have put the kabosh on anyone but their handpicked cronies going as the official delegation.

The Stephen Harper Party on the other hand spins it this way;

Mr. Heinbecker said he didn't think it was "proper" that Mr. Dion will be in Bali and could raise a stink about the Harper government's position. "The reality is the government is the government," he said, "and the position they take is the Canadian position until such time as a different Canadian government takes a different position." (Embassy, December 5, 2007)
Once again forgetting that they are a MINORITY government representing a minority of Canadians and their politics are those of an even smaller minority.

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