As the editor of a blog that works to achieve appeal beyond the borders of Canada, I must apologize everyone else for our Canadian obsession.
Even more, however, I have to apologize for the obstructionist and embarrassing approach of the Canadian Environment Minister Jim Prentice. There was a brief respite from this action yesterday, when the Minister said that irrespective of the debatable contents of the stolen email, Canada would still struggle to take a responsible position in Copenhagen.
Overlooked, however, was the story in which Prentice said he was just kidding:
“There’s always a lot of hype and drama that gets built into this sort of international event, much of it intended to force the hand of participants,” Mr. Prentice said in a speech to Montreal business leaders on Friday. “We aren’t going to buy into that. We are not going to panic. We are confident about the actions we are taking on the domestic and the continental fronts.”
“It does not change the position of Canada”
Canadian Environment Minister Jim Prentice told the National Post that the emails stolen from the University of East Anglia would not change the position that Canada is taking to the COP15 climate conference in Copenhagen this week.
“The science overall is relatively clear on all of this and as a conservationist and as a responsible environmental steward Canada wants to see carbon emissions reduced,” Prentice said.
Prentice and the Canadian government have been winning criticism lately for being neither preservationist nor environmentally responsible in the position that it brings to the climate conference. Canada has abrogated its Kyoto commitment, nominated an inadequate target for emission reductions and made no public plan to meet even that disappointing goal.
The minister also seems to show his hand in saying that the science behind climate change is only “relatively” clear - leaving the door ajar for those who continue to argue the contrary case.
But it has to be an optimistic sign that he would not choose, at this juncture, to use the emails as an excuse for Canada’s intransigence. You might even hope it presages a new and more responsible international position.
Canada’s lead negotiator at the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, Michael Martin, has declared - unequivocally - that Canada is not blocking progress at the talks this week. But in a morning briefing to the Canadian arm of the International Climate Action Network today Martin made it just as clear that Canada has no inrtention of being part of that progress.
It would appear from his recently reported comments that Martin has been suffering a fair amount of criticism for Canada’s stance at the climate conference in Poznan. Specifically, Canada was assumed to be blocking agreement on a reasonable greenhouse (GHG) gas reduction target for so-called “Annex 1” countries, the wealthiest signatories to the Kyoto Protocol.
On the contrary, Martin said this morning. Canada is fully supportive of the reduction currently being discussed. However, “it’s not Canada’s view that we can do a number within that range.”
Welcome to diplomatic doublespeak 101.
Dense fog hangs inside and outside the Frankfurt airport, a hazy waypoint on the road to Poznan.
As the most dedicated climate policy watchers all know, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change is currently in its 14th session in Poznan, Poland. For the last week, senior climate policy negotiators from around the world have been feeling one another out, testing support for ambitious greenhouse gas reduction targets to replace the now irrelevant Kyoto accord (which times out in 2012).
This week, a collection of politicians are scheduled to join the party, and the early reports suggest that they will shift the mood from merely pessimistic to decidedly defeatist.
On behalf of the DeSmogBlog, I will be on the ground in Poznan, ready to bring you the news.
Canada moves to protect U.S. market for dirty oil
The world enjoyed the first environmental dividend of an Obama presidency yesterday when a worried Canadian government proposed a joint North American action plan to address climate change.
Although it appeared that Canada's real goal was to ensure a continued U.S. market for its huge dirty-fuel tar sands project, this could still be a solid step toward a continental cap-and-trade program - which would be the first significant gesture from the world region that, so far, has been the least responsible in its approach to global warming.