NUSA DUA, BALI, INDONESIA, December 10, 2007 - Canada's Environment Minister, John Baird, will make a funding announcement on climate change along with Monique Barbut, Chief Executive Officer of the Global Environment Fund.
Date: Monday, December 10
Time: 10:00 am
Location: Pine Room, Laguna Hotel, Indonesia
Proper media accreditation required to attend news conference.
A good organization, that does valid environmental work (most of the time) around the world. You can't quibble with Canada funding international projects to improve technology and develop better practices. That said, this announcement and the timing, is pure public relations, with a heavy dose of distraction. It reminds me of this time last year, when the government was heavily criticized on the environment, then quickly went out on a countrywide photo-op tour, throwing money around like crazed "liberals".
This announcement reeks of political calculation, given the barrage of negative coverage. When you have the head of the IPCC, referring to the Conservatives as a "goverment of skeptics" that "don't want to do anything on climate change", I suppose damage control demands a response. Tomorrow, Baird gets his chance to stand in full plume, trying to convince the world that what we know to be true is really a big misunderstanding. A good deed, done for all the wrong reasons.
Canada has announced a boost in funding for a global fund designed to help poor countries deal with climate change.
The new $7.5 million contribution makes Canada the second-largest donor to the Global Environment Facility's climate-change fund, federal officials said.
A concerted public relations exercise:
The funding announcement is the first of many Baird plans to make at Bali.
The Canadian government has even set up its own personalized press conference room for a series of daily news announcements.
That facility is far away from the summit site - where Canada is taking flak from European countries and environmentalists who are upset with its stance on climate change.
I hope the media remembers, you don't need a charm offensive, pre-arranged publicity, if you are really the genuine, authentic player at this talks, that you argue. All of the announcements would have been finalized long before Baird arrived, and that fact speaks to a strategy, based on the need to distract. Canadian retail politics on the road.