The world’s most populous nation and one of its biggest polluters has thrown down the gauntlet ahead of next month’s UN climate-change conference by saying richer countries like the U.S. have caused global warming and now it’s up to them to tackle it.
China is already neck-and-neck with the U.S. in carbon emissions, mainly due to heavy reliance on coal and its massive 1.3 billion population. But as far as China is concerned, success at Bali depends on nations like the U.S. and Canada.
With Australian PM John Howard set to be dethroned in the Nov. 24th Australian election, Canada's Conservative Government led by Prime Minister Stephen Harper, and President George W Bush will lose their last key ally in their anti-Kyoto Protocol battle.
The United States and Australia never ratified the Kyoto agreement in the first place and picked up a key ally in Canada when the right-wing Conservative government took power 2 years ago. The Conservative party quickly joined ranks with the US and Australia stating that Kyoto targets could never be met and they preferred a “Made in Canada” approach to climate change.
Such sentiments were not surprising considering that it was only five years ago that Prime Minister Harper claimed Kyoto was a “job-killing,” “economy destroying” “socialist scheme.”
David Suzuki, Canada's best-known environmentalist, has spent a generation encouraging Canadians to look after the environment, but it seems they have not been listening.
While Canada ratified the 1997 Kyoto Protocol on limiting greenhouse gas emissions, the current, Conservative government says the standards cannot be met, reopening a debate he thought had been won.
“We've already been here before, and that's the thing that breaks my heart,” he told Reuters during one of his frequent trips to Toronto from his home in Vancouver. “If we had taken it seriously and done something, we would be so far past the Kyoto target today, and the problems would be infinitely simpler and cheaper.”
President George W. Bush said on Monday his administration's approach of emphasizing voluntary approaches to address climate change was working and he denounced Kyoto-style mandatory caps as “bad policy.”
The U.S. president, notorious for his long-standing opposition to fixed mandates to cut greenhouse-gas emissions, enacted legislation while governor of Texas that required energy companies to produce 5,000 megawatts of electricity from renewable sources by 2015. The legislation set penalties for those that failed to meet their requirements, and prodded them to invest in renewable energy.
A new survey has found growing global awareness of man’s role in climate change, together with a sense of urgency around curbing greenhouse-gas emissions. The challenge now is to get world leaders to take the necessary action.
A government-appointed advisory panel says in a 38-page report the Harper administration has gone too far in estimating the potential results of its global warming strategy. The group also said the government's plan is vague and uses questionable accounting methods. The report comes as the Conservative government is being sued by green groups for its foor-dragging.
Foot-dragging over meeting the Kyoto protocol’s emissions targets could land the Conservatives in federal court. Two environmentalist groups have filed papers seeking quick action from the government under new legislation.
Leaders at the 21-nation APEC forum will enter their annual two-day summit this weekend in Sydney, Australia, hoping to agree on a statement to limit greenhouse-gas emissions. With the world’s two largest polluters still at loggerheads, however, they might have accomplished more by staying home and not spewing CO2 to attend the conference.