Canada has been insistent now at three consecutive international forums that we need one effective international protocol that ultimately involves action by all major emitters," he said.
Harper pointed out that Canada's position at the Commonwealth is the same to one it took at the G-8 and APEC summits earlier this year.
We did nothing there, and now we are doing nothing here. How commendable.
Canada amounts to the fox in the hen house, insisting on language and concepts which dilute the entire process. Heading into the next phase of talks, it is clear that Canada's role will be to supply cover for the timid and weaken any final decisions. The statement has Canada written all over it:
inclusive in nature and should work towards outcomes that are ambitious, comprehensive, equitable, have respect for different national circumstances, and provide for flexibility in addressing climate change.
"This should include a long-term aspirational goal for emissions reduction to which all countries would contribute."
Canada's standard line, revolves around the unique circumstances we face in tackling GHG's. Nevermind the reality, that a country like Norway, with similar energy reserves, has enacted firm targets, that go well beyond Kyoto, Canada is setting the stage to get a pass. "Different national circumstances" sounds like it came straight out of Baird's mouth. I predict that in future talks, Canada will push for a global reduction target, with individual nations contributing differing reductions, based on their "circumstance". The argument will go as follows, because Canada is an energy exporter, it should achieve lesser targets than nations who import. Basically, our entire policy will revolve around the idea of unlimited tar sands expansions, with the idea that you don't punish the supplier.
It is absolutely maddening to have the scientific community demanding immediate action, with real percentages, that can mitigate the effects, while people like Harper throw out nonsense like "flexibility" and "aspirational". Imagine if Mulroney had used those references when discussing the effects of acid rain. Imagine if Mulroney had argued that technology could take care of the problem, that industry produced goods that the world needed, so why should we curtail activities, because we supply needed product. Harper offers the absurd, and the reason- deep down, he doesn't buy the projections, his heart is still in the sceptic camp. People can champion the rhetoric, point to the Liberals, waste energy debating Kyoto, but the bottomline, Harper and company are engaged in one of the biggest dis-information campaigns, that has international implications, in Canadian history.
I would have more respect for the government, if they just admitted that they don't see an urgent problem, that they see hysteria and prefer caution. Just admit that you are merely trying to appease, engaged in a concerted effort to negate the issue at the ballot box, a public relations exercise, hoping for a "draw". The rhetoric doesn't match the action, there is no credible, independent source, that has come forward to verify the claims, nobody, nothing, nada. And yet, we are forced to endure the baffoon Baird pontificating to all, while Harper tours the world, the charlatan who betrays good intentions. What a disgrace.
I love how the Conservatives continue saying Canada is 'back' and 'taking the lead' in world affairs, and yet continue telling other countries, 'you first, and then we'll do it too'.
Harper offers the absurd, and the reason- deep down, he doesn't buy the projections, his heart is still in the sceptic camp.
Actually Steve, I'm of the camp that it's worse than that. I think he does see the science as credible, but it doesn't suit his purpose at this point.
I know that is a strong statement and given that he has two small children it's tough to digest.
Perhaps I'll go this far...there is a bit of both in him and that indeed is tragic.
He's a smart man though. To ignore what is out there is ludicrous.
I know it sounds partisan and paints him as craven, but I think he is and I think that is where we are in this country.
Sad was a well chosen title.
"I think he does see the science as credible, but it doesn't suit his purpose at this point."
I don't think he appreciates the gravity. After all, Harper only had a change of heart, "so called", once the polls showed the issue to be a major impediment to a majority. It's an issue of convience, there is no passion, it is all about negating.
"The argument will go as follows, because Canada is an energy exporter, it should achieve lesser targets than nations who import."
I would love to be the fly on the wall when Mr. Harper and Mr. Baird use this argument in Bali and find out that it goes over like a case of the flu.
So far they have escaped any real resistance to their position because the stakes are just not high enough at these one-weekend meetings.
Once the process to continue Kyoto really gets started they are going to find stubbornness to be counter-productive to say the least. They will have to actually negotiate with the US being its only ally in the industrialized world.
Mr. Harper is playing to a domestic audience at these meetings. In Bali, he will have to begin playing to a much more knowledgable audience who will not buy the BS he is selling and who will have their own interests at heart.
As I stated over at knb's place these new negotiations are going to me more like trade talks instead of leaders' summits. They will no longer be able to depend on other governments wanting to squash any hint of disunity to help them.
"I would love to be the fly on the wall when Mr. Harper and Mr. Baird use this argument in Bali and find out that it goes over like a case of the flu."
You're right of course, but that's the frame we will argue. Every statement has these vague references to "unique challenges", dating back to Ambrose in Nairobi, with the Canada "is special" nonsense.
It's an issue of convience, there is no passion, it is all about egating.
Therein lies the real tragedy. I'll be dead and we have no children. He does though. How on earth can he think this is a solution?
Would he be courageous enough to debate someone in the know? Of course not.
Again I say Sad is a good title.
He is a fundamentalist Christian. He believes God will look after his children. He Believes, and therefore he is blessed.
Great post. Add this comparison: what would have happened had Mulroney called the push to end apartheid in South Africa as 'aspirational'? He would have made Mother Thatcher quite proud and we probably would never had the opportunity to name that 'communist' (to quote Rob Anders, I think) Nelson Mandela an honourable Canadian citizen.
With all the damning conclusions coming from the scientific community over the past 2 months, plus some drasticly visible changes to weather patterns, how is Harper able to continue to wear his blinders every day?
Because his big backers, who remain unidentified in his leadership push, are Big Oil and they can plod and enable like anyone's business. It isn't in their vested interest -- at least when holding to a short-term, profits now perspective -- to encourage any demand, nor to encourage any restrictions to their plunder.
Harper has set Canada's role on the international stage back to the stone age. Aspirational indeed.
that should be 'discourage demand'
Sadly, you are entirely correct with this post. All we see from CPCers on global warming is rhetoric that has little to no connection to reality. Take for another example the line that Baird used and was repeated online by many CPC supporters including Wilson in an earlier thread about how it was 160 days since McGuinty last asked him a question on the topic, how many of those 160 days was Parliament not in session/sitting by decision of the CPC government? I figure roughly 3/4ths of that time given the long summer break they took, not to mention the Thanksgiving holiday break. Classic CPC spin that upon examination, superficial examination at that, bears little to no connection to factual reality.
What we saw these past several days in Uganda is simply more of the same of that nonsense. It is very easy to "lead the world" to your position when you are doing it in a forum that operates on consensus, all you have to do is refuse to agree until it matches what you want, even if everyone else feels differently and wants more as was the case here given that of what 53 countries only two opposed firm absolute hard targets for developed countries that even India was willing to sign on to and one of them had their government change during the conference to a party that would not have taken that oppositional role (Aus), and the other one was Canada/Harper. Yet that is in CPC parlance being a strong leader leading the world and making Canada's reputation internationally stronger in their "Canada's back" motif/theme.
Calling this a disgrace alas is only a pale shadow to the reality of just how bad this truly is.
Complain as much as you like, but it looks as though Harper has got the Commonwealth to agree that all countries should contribute to emissions reductions. If we are to have binding targets, then China and India should have them too. Their targets should include an increase from current emissions levels, but they should none the less limit that increase. If Harper is moving the debate in that direction, then good for him.
Excuse me, but India WAS willing to sign on to absolute hard targets in that original communiqué, and since China is NOT a part of the Commonwealth it is more than a little dishonest to make the argument you just did. Given that you appear to be a Harper fan/supporter that inability to stick to logic, reason and most of all relevant facts should come as no surprise because that inability is essential to be able to believe what Harper has to say on the global warming issue.
All Harper did was refuse to change his position even when 51 of the other 53 nations wanted to go to absolute hard targets, and the only ally of Harper’s on this changed governments during the conference leaving him alone within the Commonwealth holding this position now. When you refuse to budge in a forum which only reports out consensus positions it is the easy course to drag your heels behind everyone else to force them to have to settle for your weaker/lesser position, hardly an example of leadership, but definitely an example of obstructionism, something Harper has been doing regarding Kyoto protocols since they were first negotiated in Kyoto back in the 90s.
In other words he moved the debate BACKWARDS, not forwards, and that is NOT something to be commended, especially on this file unless you are a doubter/skeptic on global warming, unlike virtually the entire relevant (as in scientists whose fields of expertise are directly connected) scientific community.
Scotian, shorn of your invective and abuse, I would be grateful for a link showing that India was willing to sign on to hard targets in an earlier version. That did not come through in CTV and CBC stories I read.
Edmonton Journal's headline today:
"PM Bars Climate Action"
Perhaps you could quote specific examples of "invective and abuse" within my first comment to you instead of simply claiming it is so. Otherwise you might appear to be whining to cover for a poor position. As for your hard link request, try the one Steve V's post has in it, since the only Commonwealth countries unwilling to sign onto hard absolute target language within the original declaration were Austrailia and Canada and since India is a Commonwealth country it seems rather odd to be declaring the need to a hard link to prove what is clear by use of simple reasoning/logic. Give it a try next time.
The media are indeed lined up in full agreement on this one.
Maybe we should poll the media on their views on a number of issues and govern based on that?
Tomm - the point is that, contrary to what Markch posted, it does not look like Harper has done anything positive at all.
When the Edmonton Journal starts publishing stories that point out how far astray Harper is leading this country then it might be prudent for Harper to take notice. The Journal is hardly "unfriendly" to the conservatives.
But your snide little point is taken - not that I actually said the media should run the country. See, what I would like is for our PM to show some leadership here. Passing on binding targets because not everyone will be bound is NOT leadership - it is a cop out. Real leaders do the right thing, notwithstanding what others say and do. There is no reason to believe that just because Canada is bound by concrete targets, that other countries cannot still retain their "aspirational" goals. It does ot have to be Harper's way or no way.
The media are absolutely correct to point out what a useless piece of fluff this agreement is - and that Harper is responsible for making it useless.
tomm: The media are indeed lined up in full agreement on this one.
Maybe we should poll the media on their views on a number of issues and govern based on that?
Well, that is what has been happening isn't it? Your suggestion exists.
It is time to change that and I for one am grateful that the media does not seem to be working off a Harper script.
We'll see where this goes.
Scotian, bravo. Pointing out the obvious to the oblivious is a noble task.
Canada was among the only countries to oppose a resolution that had called on developed countries to meet binding targets, without making any reference to developing ones like India.
My comment was more than just a snide remark. The media are driving this countries' public opinion. I can see this in many issues, but the environment is one of the least subtle areas of this.
What exactly did Harper do in Kampala on the climate change agenda topic? How did he do it? Why did he do it?
"...This was the Kyoto mistake," Harper told a news conference at the summit's conclusion.
...We already did the 'One-third of the countries will take binding targets and let's hope the rest fall into line."'
That quote is apparently a direct one from Harper. It certainly opens the door to some deep thinking on this issue and not just some knee jerk anti-Kyoto rhetoric.
But you don't care. You want the superficial. You want the idealogical. I really think you would refuse to let information and reasoned argument get in the way of national decision making, if it disagreed from your political idealogy.
In addition, the Edmonton Journal is not a pro-CPC paper. It is the most left wing of two Edmonton dailies.
While saying the above, I am not endorsing the full position of the government. I personally think they should move forward a little faster internally on innovative technologies and transforming our national infrastructure, however internationally, I think Harper's positions are much closer to what's required than those of Linda MacQuaig. Jim Travers or Stephane Dion.
To do what Dion suggests just opens the door to internationalism driven by rapidly growing and environment destroying Asian economies, and the sunset of western economies and western capabilities to affect world environment and politics. The above may be a little glib, but I think roughly accurate.
I thought we agreed that the national media had to carefully present the information of the national politician's without subliminally affecting the reader's views.
They are certainly affecting people's views on the government's international positions on climate change.
If the media interviewed people with a variety of views and presented those views, that's one thing, but for the media to just politicize the whole thing is something entirely different.
Why don't they go to climatologists at Waterloo, or Berkeley? Why do they quote politician's on science, and scientists on politics?
They have decided what spin they want to put on the news and look for meaty quotes along the line of what they want to present.
Most of the time. it's clear to informed readers that the truth wasn't a casualty, it wasn't even being sought.
Tomm, are you suggesting that ink should be used to support an argument that does not exist?
Stock Day for instance should have equal print and time to support the fallacy that the world is 2000 years old?
Most of the time. it's clear to informed readers that the truth wasn't a casualty, it wasn't even being sought.
Here, sitting on different sides of the fence, we may agree.
I wish I had been writing Day's copy. It would be so easy to explain a belief in creationism that fits with the standard science of evolution. The trick is to remember that people that believe in evolution are pre-dominantly not athiests.
In regards to greenhouse gases, we certainly need to reduce them. But that being said, binding targets for some nations but not others (when "others" emissions will soon exceed "some" nations) is clearly a defensible position. It's too bad the media just doesn't go there.
tomm said - "binding targets for some nations but not others (when "others" emissions will soon exceed "some" nations) is clearly a defensible position."
that's no more defensible than saying we should not ban torture unless all countries do, we should not honour the Geneva Convention unless all countries do.
Stevie is always going on about being a leader on the world stage. Well, Canada should lead by example, for one thing. Set limits, show we are serious, don't allow other countries to use the same feeble excuse the CONs are using now.
Furthermore, setting limits will lower global emissions, and the more countries doing this, the better. If Stevie's argument is defensible for Canada, then it is defensible for all countries, which would not deliver any emissions controls, should all leaders think and act like the brilliant Stevie. That's a ridiculous argument that I never let my kids get away with from the time they were old enough to understand English.
Harper isn't just stalling international efforts to act on climate change, he's interfering with their progress, and that's unconscionable, indefensible.
excellent post, steve v!
"The media are driving this countries' public opinion. I can see this in many issues, but the environment is one of the least subtle areas of this."
The media are not doing anything different now than they have been doing for decades. Editorials, opinion columns and carefully crafted headlines did not just suddenly appear. It is just that you disagree with the criticism of Harper on this issue that makes you speak out.
Many media outlets certainly have their biases, and those biases come through in their reporting, but when most of the media come out against Harper's position on the environment, it might be because Harper was wrong here.
"But you don't care. You want the superficial. You want the idealogical. I really think you would refuse to let information and reasoned argument get in the way of national decision making, if it disagreed from your political ideology."
There is absolutely no basis for this comment, except that again, I disagree with you.
Let us look past Harper and the media here. Have you forgotten that every other commonwealth country wanted to set hard targets? Is it your contention that each of those countries are taking that position because of ideology and because they are superficial? Maybe they all just dislike Harper so they decided to use this opportunity to make him look bad. Of maybe, just maybe, they consulted with their experts and came to the conclusion that hard targets are necessary, now, to save the planet.
Not to mention the fact it is hypocritical for anyone who is defending Harper to suggest those of us who oppose are doing so only out of ideology. The very reason I oppose Harper is because of he allows ideology to drive his government. He completely ignores research and facts if they get in the way of his ideology. His crime package, for example, has been widely panned by criminologists and lawyers as being expensive and ineffective. There is no research available that would suggest imposing these tougher penalties will decrease crime. To the contrary, almost all the research suggests it will not, and a recent US study suggests it may actually increase crime.
I do not recall ever reading you commenting that Harper is too idealogical on the crime issue.
So please, stop with the righteous indignation. You have no legs to stand on with that particular argument.
"In addition, the Edmonton Journal is not a pro-CPC paper. It is the most left wing of two Edmonton dailies.'
This is where your media bias argument fails. Just because a the Journal is not as right wing as the Edmonton Sun (and really, what paper is that right wing), it does not mean it is left wing. If you follow the editorials (as I do), you will see they are largely supportive of Harper. The Journal is not blindly ideological like the Sun however, so maybe that makes them "left-wing" in your books.
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