Canada is being "opportunistic" in its stance on carbon emissions reductions, the head of the Nobel Prize-winning climate science panel said Thursday.
Canada has said emissions reductions targets should apply to all major emitters, including China and India, although past negotiations have agreed that industrialised countries bear greater responsibility for climate change.
"It is really an opportunistic position that they are taking," said Rajendra K. Pachauri, chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
This particular government has been a government of skeptics. They do not want to do anything on climate change," Pachauri said.
"The previous government had a very different approach" in its response to climate change, Pachauri said, referring to the earlier Liberal administration.
Another country, which is taking heat in Bali is Japan. The criticisms of Canada are all the more revealing, because Pachauri actually defends the Japanese:
Pachauri defended Japan.
"In relative terms Japan is an energy-efficient society. They have done a fair amount already so they have probably exhausted all the low-hanging fruit," he said.
"They have exhausted a number of the less expensive options and now if they have to reduce emissions they will have to move some of the more expensive ones. So I can understand their concerns."
More high praise:
One prominent environmentalist at Bali says countries such as China, South Africa and Brazil have actually seemed keen at the summit to take a more energetic approach to combating climate change.
Still, Stephen Guilbeault says there is no discussion whatsoever of them taking on binding targets. The spokesman for the environmental group Equiterre says Canada appears poised to play a spoiler's role.
"They're setting themselves up to derail the negotiations, and Canada will have to assume that there won't be an agreement," Guilbeault said in an interview from Bali.
"We'll have to explain why, if large emitters were willing to move like never before, why we were intransigent."
I will not defend the Liberal record on greenhouse gases, because frankly you can't in many respects. Still, it is worth noting, that for all the Conservative talk of "13 years" of failure, Canada's standing has actually worsened under the Tory reign:
Canada has ranked close to last on an annual index that evaluates and compares the climate protection performances of 56 industrialized and emerging countries.
Canada ranked 46th for its emissions levels, 43rd for its emission trends, and 55th for the effectiveness of its national government policies.
Overall, Canada will rank 53rd for 2008, 51st for 2007. For background, Canada ranked 46th, the year in which this government took the helm. The Liberals may have failed, but they increasingly look the relative success when compared with this gang.
The good news, which might be a bad choice of words, considering the stakes, this government is being exposed at Bali, their rhetoric evaporating when faced with real action. There is no where to hide, and the international community is beginning to parrot the domestic criticisms. Canada is being embarrassed on the world stage, and these slights will only intensify as we move forward with the talks.
Hopefully, the Canadian media will tire of its obsession with the weeble-like German (nobody cares), at the exclusion of everything else and concentrate on what amounts to the most damaging international display Canada has ever witnessed. Canada may only contribute 2% of GHG's, but our role in Bali does far more damage to the planet than that simple fact reveals.