Saturday, January 12, 2008
The Canadian state = the planet’s 4th biggest problem
An annual report and Canada’s recent performance at a UN climate conference ranks it the fourth worst country in efforts to end climate change. The damning report came from Germanwatch, a European environmental NGO that rated Canada 4th worst in terms of efforts to stop climate change (out of 56 countries evaluated).
The Report came as representatives from over 180 countries attended a UN climate conference held in Bali, Indonesia during December. The conference took place to negotiate a greenhouse gas emission reduction plan that would follow Kyoto once the accord ends in 2012. The Kyoto protocol was ratified in 1997, and included a collective agreement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 5% bellow 1990 levels by 2012, but because of its weakness, it failed even in this week goal.
The Bali conference ended with a vague plan, including an agreement that rich nations need to cut their greenhouse gas emissions by 20-40% below 1990 levels by 2020. Throughout the conference, Canada, represented by environment minister John Baird and his team of negotiators sided with the US and Japan in trying to block the passing of this goal. Canada also attempted to force strict carbon limits on China and other developing nations - despite the fact that these countries bear almost no responsibility for causing global warming, and (in the case of China) have a per-capita emission level 5 times lower than Canada. Many feel that Canada and the U.S. are pushing these carbon limits in order to challenge the competitive threat of Chinese capitalism to Western interests.
The G-8 (The US, Canada, Japan, the U.K, Germany, France, Italy and Russia) emit around half of the globe’s annual carbon dioxide emissions – the most significant greenhouse gas that causes global warming- despite representing less than 11% of the world’s population. It is the rich that own the huge oil, energy and industrial corporations within those 8 countries that are the greatest contributors to climate change and are not only doing the least to prevent it, but are actively trying to thwart efforts to stop it.
According to most recent calculations, Canada emits around 639 million (well over half a billion) tonnes of carbon dioxide per year - making it the 7th biggest polluter of CO2 in the world. The shameful stance of John Baird at the climate conference must be condemned by all Canadians as a crime against the people of the world and the planet. It is part of the consistent anti-environmental policies implemented by various administrations: from the Liberal’s dramatic rising of emission levels, to the current Conservative’s destructive position. True environmental change can only come from governments that do not put corporate interests ahead of the people.