WWF: Canada stands alone on climate change | WWF
WWF: Canada stands alone on climate change

Posted on 29 November 2011

Statement from Tasneem Essop, head of international climate strategy for WWF, during the ongoing United Nations climate change negotiations about recent reports that Canada plans to withdraw from the Kyoto Protocol:


Statement from Tasneem Essop, head of international climate strategy for WWF, during the ongoing United Nations climate change negotiations about recent reports that Canada plans to withdraw from the Kyoto Protocol:

According to media reports, Canada’s Minister of the Environment, Peter Kent, yesterday refused to “confirm or deny” the rumor that Canada had already decided to withdraw from the Kyoto Protocol, only saying it was “an option.”’

The timing of this news was disappointing on the first day of COP17 and led to a lot of questions from others about Canada’s credibility and role in the negotiations, and consequently its ability to influence global policy. Instead of building on the foundation of the Kyoto agreement, Minister Kent called for “a mandate to work on an eventual binding convention.”

If other countries adopted Minister Kent’s position, the result would be a series of voluntary pledges instead of a binding agreement. At a time when even the International Energy Agency is pointing out that we are way off track on meeting global commitments and that the window is closing rapidly on the ability to stay under the shared goal of limiting warming to 2°C, it is hard to imagine how Minister Kent’s preferred path can possibly result in the kind of increased ambition and action even Minster Kent suggests is needed.

Minister Kent described climate change as an urgent issue that needs action. If he has suggestions on how his proposed path forward will result in more action, more quickly – for Canada or internationally – we’re all ears.

Background: According to recent research from International Institute of Sustainable Development, Canada is currently on track to meet only 30 percent of its 2020 target, based on all current and planned federal and provincial initiatives.

The COP 17 United Nations climate change negotiations run through Dec. 9.
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