Sunday, December 09, 2007

Bali Bull

Every country has a position in Bali, but is there a more contradictory one that Canada's? On so many levels our arguments reach the level of absurd. The leaked document, that outlines Canada's demands defy basic logic:
The key factor calls or considerations for countries with "national circumstances" in order to not "unduly" burden the growth of any single country.

Canada is demanding that all major emitters be included in a framework moving forward. Canada demands that this framework included mandatory targets for all nations. We can debate the merits of this approach, not to mention the fact that Canada knows full well that this is unachievable in the near term. However, where the argument becomes complete nonsense, Canada then argues for "flexibility" in terms of the targets, to acknowledge "national circumstances". The tortured logic- mandatory targets for everyone, but different targets, depending on the country. In other words, no uniformity, everyone operates in an independent universe.

John Baird's own words show the inherent hypocrisy:
"Eliminating emissions in one country but allowing them to skyrocket in another does nothing to reduce the global burden of harmful substances that contribute to climate change and pollute the air we breathe," wrote Mr. Baird

Following the Baird logic, the EU "eliminates" emissions, while a country like Canada, because of its "special" status, can continue on a different path. Arguing that no country gets a pass, then telling the world that Canada should get special consideration, because of circumstance. Canada doesn't support mandatory targets, it actually supports a patchwork of differing targets, relatively weak ones for us. A country like Norway, with similar geographic circumstance and energy exports will be expected to meet a certain threshold, but Canada will operate under different rules. What a farce.

Every country in the world can argue "national circumstance", everyone is "special". Within that lens, the Baird argument actually supports the Chinese and Indian resistence, because those nations can argue they merely supply the international appetite for goods, much like Canada does in terms of energy. The goods in question supply the west, why should the source suffer, while the consumer appears clean?

The Canadian position is so fundamentally flawed and completely disingenious, arguing out of both sides of our mouth, hoping the contradictions get lost in the noise.


ottlib said...

Jeffery Simpson of the Globe had an interesting column a few days ago stating no delegation is at the Bali talks with their final positions.

That makes sense because these talks are the beginning of a process that will last a couple of years.

In other words we are seeing the beginning of a marathon not a sprint.

So it makes me wonder what the Harper government's real position is if they are like the rest and have gone with a starting position.

What will be their eventual compromise position?

Or is this government in its inexperience running a sprint when the rest of the world is running a marathon?

Jeffery Simpson also stated that no progress will be made until a change in the US presidency next year and I happen to agree. The rest of the world will mark time until George Bush is finally discarded into the dusbin of history and then deal with his successor.

So Mr. Baird can blow smoke out of his ass all he wants. It will not change that dynamic.

Unknown said...

Nice story in the TO Sun:

That brings us to the Montreal environmental conference in December 2005. We were embarrassed in front of the world when U.S. President George Bush informed former PM Paul Martin that the U.S., without implementing the Kyoto protocol, had done better than Canada in containing CO2 emissions.

In fact, since signing the protocol in Kyoto, carbon dioxide emissions in Canada had increased 24.4%.

In a report from Montreal on Dec. 8, 2005, the BBC said "one of the main controversies at this conference" was an attempt by the Canadian minister of environment "to launch a two-year process of discussions outside the jurisdiction of the Kyoto agreement."

The BBC explained that "the aim is to set up a 'parallel track' to discuss various options for taking international action forward, which would enable both the Americans and developing countries to participate without committing themselves to specific targets on cutting or limiting emissions."

Sound familiar?

Of course, Canada's environment minister at the time was Stephane Dion.

Please explain why your party did nothing and now your leader is misleading Canadians. He spent 6.5 BILLION DOLLARS and accomplished Nothing! Please defend your glorious leader and his enviormental record....

I look forward to your arguements. Please facts only.

Unknown said...

BTW I see Australia is not ratifying Kyoto. Gonna cost too much. Interesting....

ottlib said...


What you and the Conservatives have to worry about is how this issue is going to play in the next election. If the Liberals and other opponents of the Conservatives can demonstrate the Harper government has been obstructionist on this issue, which it has, Canadians are going to stand up and take notice.

Jeff, Canadians are truly worried about global warming and the party that comes up with a real plan to combat it will benefit. Fortunately, the Conservatives have still not grasped how worried Canadians are about this issue and they have failed twice to come up with a credible plan. So, the chances of them benefiting is not very high.

As well Jeff, your party has been in power for two years. The best before date for blaming the last government for the current government's failings is long past. So that argument is not going to fly during the next election.

As well, the argument from The Sun is just regurgitated from nine months ago. The question has been asked and answered. So the real question is how are the Conservatives going to defend their lack of action for the past two years. You see pointing out another's record only works if you have a better record to compare it with.

The fact The Sun has had to resort to throwing out an old argument is quite heartening to me. There inability to come up with a newer, fresher argument is great news for the Liberals.

But Jeff, you and The Sun can keep on throwing those arguments out there. I really love watching the political parties I do not support pursue failing strategies.

Gayle said...

"So it makes me wonder what the Harper government's real position is if they are like the rest and have gone with a starting position."

I do not see Harper ever admitting someone else changed his mind. I do not see him ever conceding a point. Should this be a starting position, then I wonder how he will spin it if he has to make concessions.

Steve V said...


Canada ranked 45th out of 56th countries the year the Tories took office. We now rank 54th, 55th rank for government policies. If the Liberals were a failure, then what are these guys?? Just the facts, right?


Harper has shown that pragmatism and diplomatic nuance aren't his strong suit. Given the bully like tactics at home, I suspect this is our final position.

Steve V said...


Nice story in the Edmonton Sun:

"Where does Harper choose to position himself in this debate? At the rear, pulling back. Canada, along with the United States and Japan, have formed a block at Bali, whose purpose appears to be to torpedo any agreement on binding targets for emission reductions after the Kyoto Protocol expires in 2012.


Harper says that's about fairness -- that no effort to combat climate change will work unless China, India and the U.S. are on board. He's right about that -- but he's also wrong. The effort must begin somewhere. Carbon sequestration and clean-energy technology must be developed somewhere. Why not here? Anyone can see that the Conservatives don't believe their recent Green rhetoric, as they're not taking any significant steps to fight climate change here at home. Dumb. We don't need an international treaty to tell us what to do within our own borders, now do we?

Anonymous said...

With all due respect, an environment minister is subject to what their PM decides including Dion. He was only environment minister for 18 months for heavens sake.

I'm confused about the Australian stance - has Rudd duped his voters? He won because of his stance on Kyoto - what the hell is he doing?

I'm sick and tired of the "they didn't get it done because we all know that plans were in place to take effect Feb/06 and we know what happened there. They maybe didn't get it done "but they sure as hell get it".

I remember when the Libs got the report from the Environment Commissioner about costs etc - BUT when interviewed after giving her report she said that they had some promising initiatives that she liked - these are the ones Harper cancelled. She also was critical of Harper's plan - and then suddenly she lost her job - I'm truly suspicious about that one.

So, the Jeffrey Simpsons and other journalists can flap all they want - they are not experts and are not scientists.

What looked promising 2 years ago is now a mess.

MarkCh said...

Weren't there a variety of different targets for different countries under the original Kyoto? In fact, I believe Australia's target actually allowed for an emissions increase. Why on Earth would you expect that every country should have the same targets? Does population growth, at the very least, not have some impact?

Oxford County Liberals said...

Gee Jeff, according to this news-article today (er, tomorrow in Australia), Australia and Rudd ratified Kyoto last week.

Anonymous said...
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ALW said...

What is “contradictory” about Canada’s position? Baird is just saying everyone has to have a hard target; not that all countries have to bear the burden equally. There’s no contradiction in saying: everyone has to be locked in, but may not have to pay an equal share.


Steve V said...


What is bizarre, the fact you can't acknowledge elementary logic.

ALW said...


Okay, work with me here. If you, me, George Bush and Hu Jintao are going to buy a car together, and I say “I’m not committing to buying this car until we all commit to a hard dollar figure”, does that mean that we all have to commit to the same hard dollar figure, and divide the sale price evenly? No, it doesn’t.

I’m not disputing that you can quibble with this strategy in terms of effectiveness. But there isn’t any contradiction.

Steve V said...


Let's use that analogy and add China and India. Is it consistent to say, we incurred this huge debt on the last car, but we expect you guys to pony up and pay that debt too?

It is contradictory to say we are "leading the world", we already have "aggressive" targets, and then balk at any attempt to have targets imposed. According to Baird, we are already "unilaterally disarming", so what is the beef exactly? The mental gymnastics required to understand the Conservatives is beyond tiring. The good news, outside of partisans, nobody is buying the mirage, the CONTRADICTIONS.

Steve V said...


If you don't mind, could you fire off an email to this fella, who seems to share my confusion:

"The top climate change official at the United Nations, Yvo de Boer, was among those who questioned the Harper government's position. De Boer, who met with Baird, noted that he couldn't understand how Canada expected to demand binding commitments from developing countries such as India and China, when it wasn't planning to keep its own promises to fight climate change."


ALW said...


But that's not what Baird's saying. He's not talkign about the last car. He's talking about the next car. More to the point, Canada's position isn't that developing countries need to commit to as ambitious targets as developed ones: he's just saying they should have to commit to something. Don't put words in his mouth.

You are the one engagig in mental gymnastics; we are the only country demanding hard targets for everybody. Again, you can argue about the wisdom of such an approach, but you can't argue against the fact that if achieved, it would be far more effective than anything anyone else has proposed.

Steve V said...


I can't argue with someone who parrots the Baird absurdities. Nobody buys it, except those who are pre-disposed to believe.

Oxford County Liberals said...


I see ALW has managed to tear himself from leaving his tripe at my blog mometarily and discovered yours - congratulations for getting him to notice you.

"parroting Baird's absurdities" is pretty apt for describing ALW. While charging me with parroting either Liberal or Progressive positions and finding no fault with them (apparently ignoring or missing my criticisms I've had of the NDP of late) he protests when he gets called a Con shill, because he claims he's hard on the Cons all the time.

As we can see from him trolling around the Prog and Liberal blogosphere on the environment issue, that's a pretty unconvincing statement.

You're one of the biggest parroters of Baird's and Harper's hot air out there, Aaron, and you should try to stop pretending otherwise.

Steve V said...


It's actually reached the point of amusement, watching the apologists try to defend their man. I'm all for healthy debate, and on many issues, you can appreciate the reasoning of the other side. This debate is such a complete and utter one-sided slam dunk, that the apologists are reduced to slamming everyone to protect the government. I marvel that people can remain so defiant, despite what amounts too a pretty self-evident reality.

ALW said...


I'm asking a serious question: how is it a "contradiction" to demand both (a) a commitment by every major emitter to a binding target, and (b) different targets for different countries?

I guess what I'm asking is...can't you have both of those things at the same time? If you can, where is the contradiction?