Canadian Minister of the Environment, Peter Kent, created international controversy this week, when at the Durban Climate Summit asserted that the Kyoto Protocol is “in the past” and that Canada will under no circumstances sign a second commitment period in Durban. Minister Kent’s refusal to commit Canada to a second emissions agreement stands in direct conflict with the demands of numerous developing countries participating in the Durban talks.
Minister Kent’s resistant attitude towards committing Canada to ambitious and aggressive international climate agreements has enraged numerous Canadian environmental groups, and has partially inspired the Council of Canadians to release a damning assessment of the Canadian government’s current policy platform addressing the climate crisis.
The Council’s statement unabashedly discussed the Canadian government’s tendency to err on the side of protecting the “interests of big oil companies than Canadians and UN climate negotiations”. It also highlights how Canada is the only country to come out of the Copenhagen negotiations and weaken its emissions reduction target and also the only country to ratify and then renounce its Kyoto commitments. The open statement concludes by revealing how Conservative Senator’s killed “the only piece of climate change legislation under consideration in Parliament without even bothering to debate the bill”.
This statement represents the schism between what exactly is being done by policy makers in Ottawa about the climate crisis, and what needs to be done to protect environmental and public health. The talks in Durban represent the twilight hours of our opportunity to reverse the potentially looming, and irreversible impacts of increasing global temperatures as a result of carbon emissions. By refusing to stand behind proactive efforts to curtail the future impacts of the climate crisis, Canada has evolved into one of the largest obstacles constricting the development of binding and effective international climate agreements.
The Starfish will keep you posted on all of the Durban Climate Summit developments. Check out the entire Council of Canadians public statement here.