Canada on Climate Change: A Humiliation a Day

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper used an emergency UN meeting that was dedicated to salvaging the Kyoto Protocol Monday as an opportunity to humiliate Canada yet further on the international stage.

Ignoring Kyoto altogether, Harper chose rather to announce that Canada will join the Anti-Kyoto Partnership, officially known as the Asia Pacific Partnership on Clean Development and Climate (APP). A cabal of the worst greenhouse gas polluters in the world, the APP was conceived as an alternative to Kyoto. Led by backsliders like the U.S. and Australia, the APP has advocated abandoning the fixed-target regime of Kyoto in favor of what Harper calls a “flexible and balanced” approach that is strictly voluntary. Where Kyoto gave rise to a tiny and tenuous European carbon credit market, the APP would destroy that baby step and restart the clock from zero.

The laughable part of Harper's effort - if any of this can truly be considered funny - is his optimistic characterization of Canada as a potential bridge builder between APP partners and Kyoto signatories. Like a wartime military engineer, Harper continues to blow up bridges - abrogating Canada's responsibility and credibility as a Kyoto participant - and then promising that he will rebuild them later.

In order to credibly present yourself as an honest broker on the international stage, you have to start off by being, well, honest. Harper's position is shameful spin, nothing more. 


… as Granny would have said.

Voluntary controls mean no controls. As long as nobody is REQUIRED to close their drive-throughs, Tim Horton’s is not going to shut theirs down to make a point and risk losing the business. So how about this: sign people up to COMMIT to Tim’s if they close their drive-throughs, and hold them to it. Sign people up to buy local produce at LOEB or YIG or Sobey’s (whatever), and then follow it up if the grocers comply by stocking local goods. They, in turn, can challenge their competitors to step up and make a difference. It would be a viable marketing ploy “Shop here! We’re saving the planet!” This could be applied in any number of areas. If the government isn’t going to take the lead, we are going to have to do it.