Canadians will replace Prime Minister Harper at Copenhagen

Canadians will replace Prime Minister Harper at Copenhagen

Joan Russow Global Compliance Research Project

On Friday 13, 2009 it was reported in the Toronto Star that Prime Minister Harper Prime Minister Stephen Harper leaves for the APEC summit in Singapore, but his tour won’t stop at global climate change summit in Copenhagen in December. Perhaps he finally realizes that his minority government has no right to represent Canada. In his place, Canadians, attending the summit, will have the opportunity to present, on behalf of Canada, a list of firm Canadian obligations.

One proposal by Canadians is the following and can be found at

Under this proposal Canadians on behalf of Canada will commit Canada to the following actions;

1.Canada commits tostabilise greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system. This level equates to a target of below 1°C, which is the point at which global systems on land, water and air will be so affected as to create vicious feedback cycles and destabilise many ecosystems and human societies.

2. Because of the global urgency, Canada has the political will to strive to contain the rise in temperature to less than 1°C above pre-industrial levels and will impose strict time frames so that overall global emissions will begin to be reversed as of 2010. There must be a target of 30% below 1990 levels by 2015, 50% below by 2020, 75% by 2030, 85% by 2040 and 100% below by 2050, while adhering to the precautionary principle, the differentiated responsibility principle, and the fair and just transition principle.

3. Canada will embark immediately on time-bound phasing out of fossil fuels and of subsidies for fossil fuel, and prohibited the unconventional extraction of oil from Bitumen, such as in the process in the Canadian tar/oil sands Canada will also phase-out of biofuel and nuclear energy and end to the subsidizing of biofuel and of nuclear energy.

4. Canada commits to the transition to a zero carbon society which should meet the needs of all nations and people in an equitable fashion and should be based on the principle of common but differentiated responsibility, human rights and social justice. To achieve this end Canada proposes that the industrialized states and major greenhouse gas producers must be prepared to enter into binding obligations not only through targets and time frames but also through funding mechanisms. This fund could be named ‘Fund for the Implementation of the UNFCCC’, and it would fund socially equitable and environmentally safe and sound energy renewable energy, transportation, agriculture and forestry. This fund would replace the GEF as the main source of funding for the UNFCCC.

5. Canada as one of the dominant greenhouse gas-producing and emitting states will to finance this international fund. Funds traditionally distributed not only through the GEF but also through the Bretton Woods institutions, such as the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, and additional bilateral funds, such as those in the German Fund for International Climate Initiative, should be channelled through this global fund. This fund would be indispensable for preventing climate change, and for achieving the objectives of the UNFCCC.

6. Canada will be withdrawing from Afghanistan and will propose that additional funds must be derived from reallocation of global military expenses, including budgets and arms production and sales. Part of this fund could be allocated to compensate states damaged in any way by the failure of industrialized states to discharge obligations under the UNFCCC and other legal obligations.

7. Canada proposes that other budgetary sources for this fund would be the redirecting of subsidies from socially inequitable and environmentally unsound non-sustainable energy to socially equitable and environmentally safe and sound renewable energy, transportation, agriculture, forestry etc.

8. Canada will play a lead role in advocating measures to alleviate the impacts of climate change one of which would include the cancellation of the outstanding debt of developing states, and the implementation of the minimal long-standing commitment of 0.7% of GDP being transferred to Overseas Development (ODA). The ODA must serve the needs not of the developed states but of the developing states. Any shortfall in funding should be bolstered by increased ODA by nations that inequitably gain an advantage from historical emissions or reduction scenarios that are not in line with the principle of equity.

9. Canada recognizes that all these funding measures could only just begin to compensate for the emissions debt owed, by the developed states to the developing states. The impact, of climate change on the world’s poor, on indigenous peoples, vulnerable communities, and especially low-lying states will be the greatest, and they must be assisted by Industrial states, which have a legal and moral imperative, to provide funds for socially equitable and renewable energy, transportation, agriculture, forestry etc.

10. Canada as a major greenhouse gas-producing state will implement the actions that would discharge the obligations incurred when they signed and ratified the UNFCCC (provisions of the UNFCCC have become international peremptory norms and as such are binding) and be forced to repay the emission debt. Historic emissions should be calculated and an assessment made of the degree of dereliction of duty in the implementation of the UNFCCC. From these assessments, provisions must be made to compensate the states that have been most damaged by the failure, of the major greenhouse gas emitting states, to discharge obligations under the Convention. In such cases, a fund should be set up to assist vulnerable states in taking delinquent states to the International Court of Justice.

11. Canada is disturbed that entrenched immovable national interests that have impeded the Commission on Sustainable Development have been blocking the adoption, in the UN General Assembly, of a strong legally binding agreement on climate change, Article 18 of the Charter of the United Nations reads: Decisions of the General Assembly on important questions shall be made by a two-thirds majority of the members present and voting. These questions shall include recommendations with respect to the maintenance of international peace and security. Undoubtedly, the impact of climate change could be deemed to fall under this category. Canada proposed that in Copenhagen, given the urgency of the issue of climate change, and its potential effects on the global population and on the political, economic, ecological and social global systems, the requirement for consensus must be waived, and a binding agreement on all states will be deemed to exist, if 66 % of the states concur. It is possible that a majority of the member states could agree to a strong legally binding Copenhagen protocol to the UNFCCC. A strong Protocol to the UNFCCC could then be used against the delinquent states, and a case could be taken to the International Court of Justice under the UNFCCC., which has been signed and ratified by 192 states, even most of the delinquent states including Canada and the US, have signed and ratified the UNFCCC.

12. AND a time-bound commitment to conservation, and to subsidizing and investing in socially equitable and environmentally safe and sound renewable energy, transportation, agriculture, forestry etc. options, that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

13. Canada will be bound by the legally binding agreement arising out of the negotiations in Canada.


~ by Cory Morningstar on November 16, 2009.

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