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article imageHope for Kyoto, UN climate change summit in Cancun

By Sara Star     Dec 8, 2010 in Environment
Cancuc - Light a candle for Hope. That is the message that the Council of Canadians are spreading. Hope for the Kyoto Protocol, the only global climate change treaty with mandatory emission reduction commitments. Last year’s Copenhagen Accord is non-binding.
Canadian environment minister John Baird arrived in Cancun on Tuesday for the COP 16 climate talks.
The Council of Canadian is concerned that "he will be undoubtedly be carrying the message, as has already been conveyed by Canada's chief climate negotiator Guy Saint-Jacques, that Canada will not commit to the second phase of the Kyoto Protocol set to begin in January 2013.”
According to The Council, the Harper government is now refusing to negotiate legally-binding emission reduction targets for the protocol's second phase. They say along with Japan and Russia, Canada is now standing against the 61 other countries (including all European Union countries) with commitments under the agreement, not to mention the 130 additional countries that have signed and ratified the agreement. Canada is standing very much alone in its opposition to the protocol.
The Council of Canadians this year helped forge support for the UN decision to adopt water as a right, a resolution which the Canadian government voted to abstain from. The Council continues its work, spreading word the Canadians do care.
“We likely can't change the Harper government's negotiating position over the next two days, but we can send a powerful visual that Canadians care and want their country to be committed to the Kyoto Protocol."
National Review Online journalist, Steven F. Hayward points out that a German newspaper Neue Zurcher Zeitung observed two weeks ago: “The next world climate summit in Cancun is actually an economy summit during which the distribution of the world’s resources will be negotiated.”
What prompted this conclusion was a candid admission from a U.N. official closely involved with the climate negotiations, German economist Ottmar Edenhoffer: “But one must say clearly that we redistribute de facto the world’s wealth by climate policy. Obviously, the owners of coal and oil will not be enthusiastic about this. One has to free oneself from the illusion that international climate policy is environmental policy. This has almost nothing to do with environmental policy anymore.”
According to the, the highlights so far include:
USA During a break from negotiations at the annual United Nations climate change summit in Mexico, Todd Stern said the U.S. wants a legally binding agreement that produces similar obligations for all major countries, including emerging giants, such as China, India and Brazil.
Canada Environment Minister John Baird singled out China, suggesting it is large enough to take on significant commitments in a new deal... Canada, like the U.S., has criticized the Kyoto agreement for not imposing tougher commitments on developing countries.
China believes developed countries should meet targets set under the Kyoto agreement. China's chief negotiator Xie Zhenhua noted in a speech to delegates that his country had set a target to reduce the intensity or growth of its emissions by up to 45 per cent by 2020, and was striving to see its emissions peak as soon as possible.
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