Members of the Canadian Youth Delegation are blogging from the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Cancun, Mexico. Daniel T’seleie, a Yellowknife resident, filed this post.
It was the first day of negotiations at the UN climate change conference, and the Canadian Youth Delegation wasn’t able to get inside. A UN error left us without accreditation badges.
It’s hard for us to follow negotiations without access to the conference, especially since we have lost Internet access at our hostel.
I’m sure I can guess at what has and will happen.
Canada will block progress at these negotiations. This is all we seem to do. Yesterday we won the Fossil award; it’s awarded to the country that does the most in the negotiations to block progress by a global coalition of over 400 non-government environmental, faith-based, and labour organizations. We’ve won more of these awards in the last few years than any other country.
Some things are different this year; Canada has a new negotiator and environment minister, but still has the same policies of blocking progress. Just like our policies back home.
The Canadian government has said we need to “harmonize” with the United States. Meaning we won’t take action on climate change until they do.
Over the weekend, it was announced that the U.S. will be regulating industrial greenhouse gas emissions. Canada’s government announced that it won’t be following suit.
This is part of our government’s years-long history of lying, deceiving, and breaking promises to avoid doing anything about climate change.
When the government came to power in 2006 they said wouldn’t Canada wouldn’t meet its Kyoto Protocol commitments, and said we needed a made-in-Canada plan.
They also promised to regulate industrial greenhouse gas emissions by 2010.
The made-in-Canada promise didn’t last long, and lately they’ve been using the “harmonize” with the United States excuse. Until this past weekend.
Now that the USA is regulating industrial emissions, Canada will have to think of a new excuse to stall action on climate change.
Along with the changes in excuses to stall action, this government has gone through two lead UN climate negotiators and three environment ministers (and now we’ve cycled back to the second one, John Baird).
The only consistency is the government’s actual, unspoken policy on climate change: Don’t do anything about it, and, when possible, enact policies to make it worse.
We should starting a transition off fossil fuels, but instead our government is subsidizing big oil companies with $1 billion a year, despite the fact that the federal Department of Finance has advised against them.
We’ve also seen a regular lowering of ambition in our targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Canada was the only country that left the historic UN COP15 climate change conference in Copenhagen last December with a lower emissions reduction target than when they arrived.
With the killing of the Climate Change Accountability Act in the unelected Senate a few weeks ago (meaning we have no domestic climate legislation), the government’s unspoken policy of supporting oil companies and stalling action on climate change is all we can expect Canada’s negotiating team to bring to the table here in Cancun.