What Next -- Climate Watch

Canada -- Terrible position ahead of Durban

Below is an official statement from Canada ahead of the Durban climate negotiations. As rightly acknowledged, this position will cause "turbulence" in the coming weeks. The rejection of taking on a second commitment period target under the Kyoto protocol is an act against Canada's legal obligations, and an outright provocation to developing countries.

Basically, the Canadian position (and that of so many other "developed" (Annex 1) countries) is a rejection of the fundamental equity principle of the climate convention itself: "Common but Differentiated Responsibility". The whole point of the Kyoto protocol is that it put higher demands on the countries with historical responsibility and capability to take the lead, while the other components of the Bali plan from 2007 include all the other emissions: the US agreeing to deliver "comparable efforts" to the Kyoto countries, and the developing countries doing their fair share enabled by appropirate finance, technology, capacity building etc.

The Bali plan thus includes 100% of global emissions. Annex 1 countries must take the lead; only then can they put legitimate demands on others (see an excellent short reflection on this by Sivan Kartha, Stockholm Environment Institute). There may be a case for reconsidering the division of the world into two Annexes, but that can not be done now, with the developed countries shifting goalposts and escaping their obligations and unfulfilled promises since decades.

The best case for reconsidering the division of the world into annexes is to now unconditionally enter a second commitment period with ambitious emissions reductions at source, as well as providing substantial short- and long-term financing. Only then can the case be made for a new regime. And such a regime would need to be based on clear and transparent equity principles, such as calculations of climate debt or the Greenhouse Development Rights (GDR) -- which do show the clear differences between developing and developed countries (including China; especially when factoring in emissions through import/export), although according to a more nuanced gradient.


Below some extracts the Canadian statement (8 November, 2011):

In Cancun, at COP 16, Canada built on the foundation of the Copenhagen Accord, which included the fast-start funding to which I referred to earlier, with a series of comprehensive agreements.

Of course, it's never easy to achieve consensus when there are so many countries with such diverse circumstances sitting around the table.

But Canada's position in the face of so many competing environmental agendas has always been-and continues to be-very simple: we will only support climate change agreements that are signed and ratified by all major emitters.

It's a straightforward, practical approach. However, it's also an approach that's likely to cause some turbulence for us in the coming weeks.

That's because we've already declared that however acute the international pressure, we will not agree to taking on a second commitment period target under the Kyoto Protocol.

The Kyoto Protocol doesn't meet our simple criteria: It has not been signed by all of the world's largest greenhouse gas emitters. That means it ultimately covers much less than 30 per cent of global emissions.

Frankly, we can do-and have already done-better than that with the Copenhagen Accord, which is signed by all major emitters and incorporates ambitious emission reduction targets for all of them.

The supplementary agreements made in Cancun a year ago, made further refinements to the Accord and also established a workable template for continuous improvement in future.

As a Government, our principal job is to make the best decisions possible for Canada and Canada's specific environmental, economic and social context.

Other countries are entitled to base their decisions and actions on what they believe to be best for their circumstances. But we are confident in our plan and will not be swayed - however stormy the weather at the upcoming COP becomes.

Full text at: http://www.ec.gc.ca/default.asp?lang=En&n=6F2DE1CA-1&news=412D3E84-714D-41E4-B2EA-53AA9FE871CC
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