Canada defended its leadership of U.N. talks on fighting global warming on Monday despite admitting that Ottawa will not meet its own goals under the Kyoto Protocol.
Environment Minister Rona Ambrose, who is chairing the May 15-26 meetings in Bonn, has suggested that Kyoto should be softened for Canada in a second period from 2012 saying Ottawa had no chance of reaching its goals.
"The challenge we face in achieving the targets domestically has no relevance to our commitment to ... ensure that we are contributing to the international effort to address climate change," Ambrose said of Canada's 2006 U.N. climate presidency.
Ambrose "must live up (to Canada's Kyoto goals) or stand down," said Jennifer Morgan, climate policy director of the WWF environmental group. "Vague statements about 'commitments to international efforts' are not serious."
German Environment Minister Sigmar Gabriel said it was too early for Canada to give up on Kyoto targets for 2012.
"I'm not sure it's true (that Canada will overshoot its goals)," he said. "We are in 2006, there's 6 years left".
More international criticism here, some domestic questions here.
Rona Ambrose as chair of the Kyoto discussions is akin to Charlton Heston heading up PETA. There is only one outcome to this sham, if Ambrose insists on carrying on in her role- Canada's international reputation will be tarnished. Better to fade to the sidelines and do nothing, than stand front and center and allow other nations easy potshots. This position is high-profile, Ambrose is a figurehead and will be constantly questioned. Give her the hook and spare Canada the embarrassment.
The government was grilled today over Ambrose's appearance in Bonn. Line of the day goes to Gilles Duceppe:
Bloc Leader Duceppe called Ambrose's position "completely stupid.''
"She looks like she's participating in a kind of festival of Just For Laughs,'' he told reporters, referring to the annual Montreal comedy festival.