Saturday, November 24, 2007

Isolated

John Howard is gone, George Bush is a lameduck, Stephen Harper has no allies to mask his duplicity on climate change. What has become evident at the Commonwealth Summit, Canada has backed itself into a corner, increasingly the pariah of the developed world. What is left, ridiculous statements by spokesperson's, in a desperate attempt to deflect:
"We are not blocking a binding target. We are, however, looking for a declaration that is as strong as the APEC declaration (which was agreed to by China and the United States) in terms of the importance of comprehensiveness – that all countries, notably major emitters, must contribute to reducing (greenhouse gas) emissions," she said.

Buckler points to the APEC delaration, and actually tries to frame it as "strong", in what amounts to a pathetic excuse. For context, the tough as nails APEC declaration:
"We agree to work to achieve a common understanding on a long-term aspirational global emissions reduction goal"

Lots of adjectives come to mind, strong isn't one of them. What Buckler's comments do demonstrate, the government is now in full damage control mode, with no where to hide.

The Australians are now on board, and look set to actually take some real leadership on the issue. Harper has lost his cover, under the guise of the fraudulent Asia-Pacific Partnership, a Bush vehicle for distraction. The talking point of including all the major emitters is a temporary reprieve, because the last great holdout is in his final days and a comprehensive plan has time on its side.

I take the developments of the past few days, as the beginning of the end for the Harper/Baird smokescreen. Harper has lost a key ally, another is increasing irrelevant, the criticisms are pointed. Canada may well leave this week's meeting as the lone holdout, isolated to the point of embarrassment, hollow rhetoric that clearly doesn't match the reality.

In addition, the convenient references to Kyoto and the Liberal record become less effective each day, as the focus moves forward, the blame game tiring. No support at home, whether it be impartial economists or climate experts, plus an increasing theme of Canada as counter-productive abroad, translates into a gathering storm of universal rejection.

16 comments:

knb said...

Flipping hell! I just heard that Harper got his way and changed the language on the agreement in Kampala to "aspirational" targets rather than binding.

How on earth did that happen?

wilson said...

It happened, because China is responsible for over 50% of the ghg's last year, and must be part of the solution.
To agree otherwise is like trying to drain a pool with a teaspoon.
Also note, numerous Island countries in the Commonwealth are also pegged to be recipients of the Kyoto credits.

ottlib said...

Organizations like the Commonwealth work on consensus. They value it more because it gives the impression of unity. They do not vote for anything. They talk until they can come up with an agreement. If one member decides to be obstructionist the organization inevitably bends to reach that consensus.

Mr. Harper knows this which is why he held out. He did the same thing at the last G-8 Summit.

Such strategy will continue to work at these confabs but when it comes down to actual concrete negotiations on substantive issues Mr. Harper is in for a surprise.

I believe the first surprise for Mr. Harper and Mr. Baird will be the conference in Bali. It will not be a short one-off meeting but the kick-off of a process that will involve hard bargaining. A different dynamic will be at play and we will have to see how Mr. Harper and Mr. Baird will handle that.

Steve V said...

"It happened, because China is responsible for over 50% of the ghg's last year, and must be part of the solution."

That is just so WEAK, especially when you have Baird bragging that we go farther than other countries, with our plan. I've said it before, if the plan is so sound, we should have no problem commiting to these miniscule declarations.

Does China need to be part of the solution? Duh. Does that translate to us doing nothing and watering down everything we can? Using China is intellectually dishonest, and only the koolaid crowd buys the faulty logic.

Steve V said...

" Harper got his way and changed the language on the agreement in Kampala to "aspirational" targets rather than binding."

I guess that is Canada's new role in the world, undermining substantive progress. I honestly don't think I can listen to Harper paint this as some sort of victory, it's all so offensive. What a complete fraud.

knb said...

it's all so offensive. What a complete fraud

I couldn't agree more Steve. The Harpies are already touting their victory.

I can't tell you how disgusted I am.

Larry Gambone said...

For shame that Canada (under the guise of the Harpocrit) would turn the Commonwealth Declaration into a meaningless, toothless statement.

Raphael Alexander said...

It doesn't matter whether Canada looks like the odd man out. We have more to lose than 98% of the rest of the planet by curtailing emissions in hopes of something we don't know if we can even "reverse". Emissions reductions seems to be a good thing, but does anyone have any evidence it will actually keep the planet from the IPCC predictions?

The only meaningful climate change restrictions would be a G7 conference which would impose restrictions on the largest countries of emissions.

Raphael Alexander said...

Using China is intellectually dishonest, and only the koolaid crowd buys the faulty logic.

No it isn't. You can't bail water from one end of a boat with a spoon, to mangle wilon's metaphor, while boring a hole in the other end.

Steve V said...

"You can't bail water from one end of a boat with a spoon, to mangle wilon's metaphor, while boring a hole in the other end."

And you can't say you are "leading the world", when you give others a free pass through your own failure. "Aspirational targets" is code for business as usual. The Chinese have already admonished our cries at APEC, because they see a lot of lip service, and no commitment. If Canada were to adopt a firm regime, then the next phase might be an added tariff on nations that don't comply with the same regiment. If there is a cost, then to offset any economic disadvantage you place it on imports that work outside. That's how you bring the world in line, you use leverage, but first you actually have to do something.

Steve V said...

knb

"Canada led the way," said spokesman Dimitri Soudas".

Now, it's up to our media to stop giving Baird and company a free ride, and start asking the tough questions.

sassy said...

As you say Steve, with Howard gone and Bush on his way out, Harper now has no allies to mask his duplicity on climate change

Perhaps Harper now feels that he is King of the Con(g)s :-(

knb said...

Yes, that is what I said at my place.

The time to stop covering Harper's back is now.

Will they? I'm not convinced but I hoping this is the tipping point.

Do you know what I keep thinking about? How on earth can the civil servants in this department sleep at night? I imagine there are some who just don't care and do the task at hand, but it's a tough issue not to take sides on.

I remember an early firing of a junior member for leaking the non-plan.

I guess the rest need a pay cheque and I suppose you can't blame them for that, but damn!

Steve V said...

"Perhaps Harper now feels that he is King of the Con(g)s :-("

I prefer "last of the cons" ;)

knb

Firing that civil servant was a clear message to others. It would be interesting if the media could get some of these people to speak off the record.

Raphael Alexander said...

The Chinese have already admonished our cries at APEC, because they see a lot of lip service, and no commitment.

But it's the same problem with the NPT isn't it? No, you disarm first. No, after you. No, I insist.

My other concern is whether we have any evidence - whatsoever - that emissions reductions would have any effect - whatsoever - on climate change. We haven't proven we can change it, let alone change it back.

Steve V said...

"My other concern is whether we have any evidence - whatsoever - that emissions reductions would have any effect - whatsoever - on climate change. We haven't proven we can change it, let alone change it back."

From the what the experts say, we can minimize the impacts if we move decisively now, so it's not the throw up your hands scenario you propose.