CANADA’S SORRY HISTORY IN RECENT INTERNATIONAL CLIMATE CHANGE NEGOTIATIONS
MEDIA BACKGROUNDER: CANADA’S SORRY HISTORY (OR CANADA’S HISTORIC IRRESPONSIBILITY)
CANADA’S ROLE AND REPUTATION IN RECENT INTERNATIONAL CLIMATE CHANGE NEGOTIATIONS
This “cheat sheet” includes comments from climate negotiators, elected officials, scientists and UN spokespeople, highlighting the lacklustre performance Canada has had in international climate change negotiations in recent years. With only 100 days until the most important climate change negotiations to date in Copenhagen, Denmark, the Canadian government must do its fair share in order to allow for a fair
and ambitious international agreement to be reached.
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Excerpts / Quotations
“[…] proposals by some others, including Canada and the US, do not appear to be equal to the required effort level and would make it impractical for collective efforts by developed countries to reach the 25-
40% range. It is therefore necessary for Canada and the US to take on commitments which are at least on a par with the EU’s compared with 1990 levels, particularly as GDP loss (the cost in percentage) resulting from this level of effort would be lower in the US or Canada than in Europe.”
– French Government Memorandum, 3/06/09
"My message to Canada, on behalf of (the Caribbean), is that the industrialized countries that have been the dominant emitters of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases must comply with the Kyoto
protocols, and also the United Nations framework on climate change, and the conference in Bali,"
Jamaican Deputy Prime Minister Kenneth Baugh.
– The Guardian, 25/03/09
"Et pour tout dire, après des déclarations du président Obama, nous aimerions bien que ce soit toute l’Amérique du Nord qui comprenne que l’avenir de la planète dépend de ce que ferons ou pas d’ici la fin
de l’année." – French President Nicolas Sarkozy
– La Presse, 5/02/09
(…, following the declarations of President Obama, we would like if all of North America could understand that the future of the planet depends on what we do or not here at the end of the year.)
“Japan, Russia, Australia and Canada have avoided putting their numbers on the table for too long. They now need to come forward with credible and ambitious mid-term targets within the 25% to 40% range for
2020,” Marthinus Van Schalkwyk, South African Minister of Environmental Affairs and Tourism
– Media statement, 2/12/08
"[Harper’s] inner oilman has won out when it comes to the environment."
– The Economist, 9/10/08
“At one point during the conference, de Boer portrayed Canada as a climate hypocrite. And at another, Rajendra Pachauri, head of the UN’s climate science panel that shared this year’s Nobel Peace Prize with
Gore, castigated the Harper government, saying, "They do not want to do anything on climate change."
– The Toronto Star, 16/12/07
"This particular government has been a government of skeptics. They do not want to do anything on climate change," Rajendra Pachauri – head of the Nobel Prize-winning Intergovernmental Panel on
– Associated Free Press, 6/12/07
"If Canada steps back from its commitments under Kyoto now … it would be dealing damaging blow to international law and to its credibility in future negotiations," Stavros Dimas, European Commissioner for
-Ottawa Sun, 1/01/07
“I am extremely frustrated by the double standards of industrialized nations. Canada criticizes other countries about their human rights policies or about the death penalty while they are playing with the lives
of island people and the Inuit,” – Enele Sopoaga, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Tuvalu to the United Nations and vice-chair of the Alliance of Small Island States.
– Inter Press Service, 9/12/06
Fossil of the Day/ Year Awards
Canada has also been the recipient of two Colossal Fossil Awards, awarded at United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change meetings by the Climate Action Network International. The Colossal
Fossil Award is awarded to the country that has been the least constructive in the negotiations over the course of the conference. Canada tied with the United States for this award in Bali in 2007, and was the
sole recipient of this award in Poznan in 2008. The awards are proposed and voted on by the Climate Action Network International.
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“Climate policy is characterized by the habituation of low expectations and a culture of failure. There is an urgent need to understand global warming and the tipping points for dangerous impacts that we have already crossed as a sustainability emergency that takes us beyond the politics of failure-inducing compromise. We are now in a race between climate tipping points and political tipping points.”
David Spratt, Philip Sutton, Climate Code Red, Australia, Published July, 2008