Peter Kent, our Minister of the Environment, used the word “proud” three times in his address to the Doha delegates.
First he said that he was “proud to be here representing Canada in these important negotiations towards a new, more effective, international climate change agreement.”
How’s that again? The world knows that Canada was the country whose actions most prejudiced the Doha negotiations. And how does one reconcile pride with his statement that Canada would not advance further amounts to the Green Climate Fund until a new climate change convention is in place? As it withdrew from Kyoto effective December 15, Canada is under no obligation to make these advances to developing countries. Still the message was negative, and – unless we are proud of pressure tactics – nothing to be proud about.
The second time he referred to “Canada’s environmental success” that flows from real and pragmatic action that will ensure that our efforts are balanced and truly sustainable for Canadians, action that would produce results of which “we are proud”.
Environmental success? Results? He may have been referring to his claim that Canada is half-way to meeting its Copenhagen target. Unfortunately this claim had been disputed before the Doha Conference began by reputable non-government research institutions. These institutions called attention to the inadequate assumptions and methodology of Canada’s claim. How can one be proud of second class analysis, even if it does support the Minister’s statement?
Environmental success? Results? He may have been referring to his statement that Canada was the first country in the world to ban the construction of traditional coal plants for the generation of electricity. Sound impressive?
Yes but remember that the ban will not come into effect until much later in the decade, and practically too late to help meet Canada’s Copenhagen targets. What is more, the ban is so structured that it will not totally eliminate the operation of such plants until approximately 2062.
The third time he used proud was in connection with Canada’s role in the launch of a partnership of six Governments and the United Nations to Reduce Short-Lived Climate Pollutants (The Climate and Clean Air Coalition). This coalition is a useful initiative, similar to the diplomatic efforts that led to the International Convention banning CFC’s. At some stage Canada will contribute $3 million dollars to the Coalition.
When this initiative was established, US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton said: “(T)his effort is not the answer to the climate crisis.” There is little in that initiative to inspire pride. Why even refer to it? Because Kent knows that a confident assertion of pride makes for a good press release.
The 250 delegates present in the hall saw through this PR effort. After Kent finished speaking there was sporadic clapping that died out in four seconds.