Monday, December 10, 2007

Canada signing climate treaty without US like unilateral disarmament: Baird

I presume then that all those countries except the US who signed Kyoto were unilaterally disarming. Of course if Canada did actually unilaterally disarm the US might invade and force us to devote a reasonable amount of our budget to our armed forces to be used to help out US world hegemony.

Canada signing climate treaty without U.S. like 'unilateral disarmament': Baird
But opposition accuses Conservatives of intentionally sabotaging climate talks
Last Updated: Sunday, December 9, 2007 | 1:06 PM ET
The Canadian Press
Canada's environment minister has dismissed the notion of signing a climate-change treaty without the United States, saying it would handicap the Canadian economy without reversing greenhouse gas emissions.

Environment Minister John Baird, at the world climate summit in Bali on Sunday, has dismissed the notion of signing a climate-change treaty without the U.S., saying it would handicap the economy without reversing greenhouse gases.
(Ivanoh Demers/Canadian Press)
As the world gathers in Bali, Indonesia, to work toward a successor treaty to the Kyoto Protocol, the Americans are already making it clear they will not submit to binding emissions targets.

In an interview with the Canadian Press, John Baird said Canada hopes to reach a deal within two years — but only if it applies targets for the first time to all major polluters.

He used a military analogy to suggest that Canada would be handicapping its economy by adopting environmental restrictions without being followed by its closest neighbour and trading partner.

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"Our major economic competition is with the United States," Baird said in an interview before he arrived in Bali this weekend.

"You can have unilateral disarmament. Some might call it noble — but it's not very smart."

He derided the logic of, for example, closing a coal plant in Ontario, only to import more coal power from Michigan. The end result is lost Canadian jobs with no benefit to the atmosphere, he said.

Signs of a stalemate have cast an additional cloud as about 190 countries meet at a Bali summit already rife with increasingly dismal warnings about the state of the Earth's climate.

Greenhouse gas emissions continue to skyrocket — with the United States, China, and India leading the way. That's why Baird says the climate deal that replaces Kyoto after it expires in 2012 must hold those countries to binding targets, which Kyoto did not do.

Baird insisting on binding targets for all

Under Kyoto, signed under a previous Liberal government, Canada agreed to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by six per cent below 1990 levels by 2008-2012. However, Greenpeace said before the Bali conference that Canada's emissions had actually increased by 25 per cent by the end of 2005 — just before the Liberals fell to Stephen Harper's Conservatives in the 2006 election.

The Conservatives say Canada will insist on binding targets for all major polluters — or there's no deal.

The Tories' insistence on U.S. involvement is not the only sign of a stalemate in Bali. None of the big three polluters have offered any hint of accepting the targets that Baird calls a prerequisite for a deal.

Baird also contends that the world's greenhouse gas levels would surge even if all rich countries eliminated their emissions while poorer ones continued business as usual.

"That's an environmental Armageddon," he said.

Tories hope to pin failure on someone else: opposition critic
China, India, and the United States already account for more than half the world's emissions. Since none of those countries have shown any willingness to accept targets, Canada's opposition parties say it's pretty clear what the Tory strategy is.

But China and India are showing unprecedented willingness at the Bali summit to take some initial steps to fight climate change, said NDP environment critic Nathan Cullen, who accused the Conservatives of intentionally sabotaging climate talks.

"Baird is putting a gun to their head," Cullen said. "He'll scare them off. He's looking for someone else to own the failure [of negotiations]. It was [Liberal Leader] St├ęphane Dion's fault before, now it's the fault of the Chinese."

On Tuesday, Dion told the House of Commons that he feared the Bali summit would falter without Canada's support, saying, "The government is telling the world it will do nothing unless everyone does something. This is a recipe for disaster."

Baird made it clear that Canada does not expect developing countries to adopt the same targets as rich ones.

The Tories believe that every country should face targets, but that those targets should be flexible to account for each country's own circumstances. Developing countries could have softer targets, Baird said.

"We [richer countries] can go faster and we can do more," he said. "But we need everybody acting."

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