Doha: the Week in Review

After three conferences on Climate Change (Copenhagen, Cancun and Durban) the politicians and the general public in North America are comfortable with the lack of progress in fighting global warming at a world level. So there is no great expectation that the outcome of discussions/negotiations at the Doha Conference (Conference of the Parties or COP18) will be any different.

The Canadian Government knows that it has little to lose at Doha.  Canada as a country has no credibility as a supporter of the COP process so why not be a spoiler? So it has turned out to be.

Canada withdrew from Kyoto last December. Canada announced just before Peter Kent’s arrival at Doha that it would not provide financial assistance or expertise to developing countries to control greenhouse gas emissions (GHG). Its refusal is conditional: once the world negotiates a replacement of Kyoto that includes developing countries it will reconsider its position.

Such a diplomatic stance could be defended if Canada had any reputation left. Canada could say that its stand was practical politics made necessary by the absurdity of the Kyoto categorization of the second and third largest polluters in the world (China and India) as developing countries not subject to Kyoto. It could also say that since it was withdrawing from the Kyoto Convention its financing obligations no longer applied.

The truth is that we don’t have any reputation. Canada is nearly last amongst leading industrial countries in its failure to take measures to control GHG.  According to the NGO’s (Non-Governmental Organization) German Watch and Climate Action Network, Canada is the fourth worst performer amongst sixty one countries.  Only Iran, Kazakhstan and Saudi Arabia were ranked below Canada.

Nobody but nobody on the international stage would care what Canada thinks or does, except that its negativism adds to the difficulty of reaching agreement, and its increasing GHG emissions contribute to the problem that the world is trying to solve.

In five years our Government has turned international repute into international disrepute.

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