Canada in Bonn: a Trojan horse for anti-Kyoto countries

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From Climate Action Network Canada, May 18, 2007

United Nations Negotiations on Climate Change:
Canada a Trojan horse for anti-Kyoto countries

Bonn, Germany – The United Nations conference on climate change which concluded today witnessed Canada acting as a Trojan horse for anti-Kyoto countries, such as the United States and Australia. Over the two weeks of the conference Canada contributed to the slow pace of negotiations and attempted to weaken the final outcome. The process is meant to assign deeper emissions reduction targets to industrialized countries in a post-2012 second phase of the Kyoto Protocol.

At a time when the climate science is indicating the world needs to move more urgently, Canada missed an important opportunity to show leadership. “Canada has clearly played an unhelpful role in these climate change negotiations,” said Jean-François Nolet, climate change project manager at Équiterre. “The Canadian attitude here in Bonn has been totally irresponsible and disconnected from what Canadians expect from their government.

An international agreement for a formal negotiating mandate is needed in December 2007 in Bali Indonesia, and countries need to accelerate the pace of the negotiations. “Canada insists publicly that it is moving forward, but in fact its efforts to delay tell a different story,” said Emilie Moorhouse, atmosphere and energy campaigner for the Sierra Club of Canada. “Canadian negotiators refer to moving with the US. Given the Bush position, that’s code for not moving at all.”

Canada has also endorsed a weakening of Kyoto, including using an intensity-based approach and supporting the U.S. in its demands for excessive intellectual property rights that would stem the spread of clean technologies to developing countries. “If Canada truly wants to avoid dangerous impacts, it would support stronger action, not a weakening of the only global agreement to tackle climate change,” said Dale Marshall, climate change policy analyst for the David Suzuki Foundation. “The real problem is not with Canada’s negotiators here. The problem is with their masters in Ottawa who want to prevent the discussions proceeding toward a stronger outcome,” said Mr. Marshall.

International observers noted Canada’s tactics to delay and weaken the outcomes of the negotiations in Bonn. “Canada was part of a small group of rich countries that chose to stall urgent efforts to stop dangerous climate change and oppose global carbon markets,” said Hans Verolme, WWF International’s Director of global climate change. Official negotiations resume in Vienna in August.