Sunday, December 9, 2007

Dion, Layton rip Harper over Bali talks.

For a country that is supposedly concerned about the environment our government is down at the bottom of the pack. The only significant country that ranks lower than us is the US. Harper wants us to stay there. He sabotaged the Commonwealth environmental meeting and now he is setting up to do the same thing at Bali. Of course he will be a heroic figure at the next Bush sponsored talks.

Sunday » December 9 » 2007

Dion, Layton rip Harper over Bali talks

Mike Blanchfield
CanWest News Service

Sunday, December 09, 2007

OTTAWA -- The Harper government is deliberately sabotaging attempts to forge a new climate change agreement at the United Nations conference in Bali, Liberal opposition leader Stephane Dion charged Saturday.

Dion's criticism came after a leaked government document showed that Canada would stick firm to its position that binding emissions targets should apply to all countries, including major emitters such as China and India.

The document shows that the government is holding to the line that it staked out last month at the Commonwealth summit in Uganda that all countries should be brought on board at once on a new accord to succeed the Kyoto Protocol, which expires in 2012.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Environment Minister John Baird say the government will not support any agreement that imposes targets on industrialized countries such as Canada, but lets other polluters off the hook.

In an interview with the CanWest News Service Saturday on the eve of his departure for Bali, Dion said the government's all or nothing approach is setting the stage for failure at the UN conference. He said there is nothing wrong with Canada accepting binding targets ahead of other countries.

"Canada should say, I am showing the example, I'm doing my part, do yours," said Dion.

"This is how you show leadership. What the government will do, it is no less than sabotage."

Dion said he will not try to conduct "parallel" negotiations because he does not formally represent Canada, but that he has a full slate of meetings already planned with those in attendance.

NDP leader Jack Layton also called on the Conservative government to "stop the blame game" and do more in Bali to find a solution.

"Liberal and Conservative governments have neglected the environment for far too long, leaving ordinary Canadians to suffer from their lack of action," Layton said Saturday in a statement.

"Today, I stand in solidarity with my community to demand Harper's Conservatives act now."

A one-paged document, obtained by the Climate Action Network, an international network of environmental advocates, lists nine factors that the federal government wants in a post-2012 agreement. The key factor calls or considerations for counties with "national circumstances" in order to not "unduly" burden the growth of any single country.

That language mirrors wording that Canada pushed the Commonwealth to adopt - over the objection of almost 50 other member countries that had been pushing for binding targets on industrialized countries.

"What we see in Bali now is the result of two years of a government that's reversed the position of Canada," said Dion.

In a letter published in the National Post on Friday, Baird said the government would accept absolute binding targets on emissions only if major emitters such as China and India are also on board.

"Eliminating emissions in one country but allowing them to skyrocket in another does nothing to reduce the global burden of harmful substances that contribute to climate change and pollute the air we breathe," wrote Baird, who arrives in Bali next week.

More than 180 countries are gathered in Bali to create a new plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions once the Kyoto Protocol expires in 2012.

Canada is to press for binding emission targets for all major emitters, including industrialized developed nations and poorer, developing nations, such as India and China - a stance that is strongly opposed by environmental groups.

"To be asking countries with hundreds of millions of people in poverty (to accept binding targets) is not a position that is going to move along things here in Bali," said Dale Marshall, representative of the David Suzuki Foundation, a member of the action network.

"It is going to derail everything."

On Friday, Canada placed near the bottom of the pack in a survey by the non-profit research group Germanwatch, which published its third annual Climate Change Performance Index.

It compared the climate protection performances of 56 industrialized countries and emerging economies, that together account for more than 90 per cent of global emissions.

In the rankings, Canada placed 53rd in 2007 for combating emissions. China ranked at 40th while the United States was second last in 55th place.

Ottawa Citizen

© CanWest News Service 2007

Copyright © 2007 CanWest Interactive, a division of CanWest MediaWorks Publications, Inc.. All rights reserved.

No comments: