Canada out to kill Kyoto, Amara Possian

Canada’s obstructive approach to the negotiation of new emission-reduction targets has many international observers baffled.

On Nov. 28, international climate-change negotiations will begin in Durban, South Africa, as the17th annual Conference of Parties (COP17) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change gets underway. This is the first of a series of blog posts from Amara Possian, who is the co-ordinator of the Canadian Youth Delegation to this conference. Amara will be writing for The Mark throughout the month, keeping us up to date as discussions unfold.

These days, even foreign diplomats are scoffing at Canada’s climate policy. In a recent interviewwith The Globe and Mail, Mohau Pheko, the South African high commissioner to Canada, asked, “Are you going to follow the United States, are you also going to become a serial non-ratifier of any agreements? … Why take a moral high ground before, on the issue of the environment, and suddenly do an about-turn now?”KyotoParl-Carousel.jpg

Pheko was referring to the Harper government’s unwillingness to adopt a second commitment period for emission reductions to the Kyoto Protocol, and she is not the only one who is baffled by Canada’s backwards international and domestic climate policy.

The legally binding Kyoto Protocol, which Canada ratified in 2002, is set to expire in 2012. This means the discussion around agreeing to a second commitment period for reducing greenhouse-gas (GHG) emissions can no longer be postponed if the international community is serious about halting dangerous climatic changes. The Canadian government, however, is opposed to committing to a second reduction period because many countries, such as major GHG emitters like China and India, are not required to make any reductions under the agreement.

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