Tag: Canada

Saudi: “We are the 1%!”

ECO thinks that we might have witnessed the potential beginnings of a copyright infringement dispute yesterday in the ADP when Saudi Arabia appeared to be freely utilising the current Canadian government’s talking points on climate change. The Saudi delegate insisted that being responsible for only 1% of global emissions is an excuse for inaction on mitigation; a line of reasoning with which Canada’s Prime Minister Harper and his ministers have long tried to justify how their expansion of dirty tar sands isn't reckless nor is Canada’s general failure to deliver on Kyoto or Copenhagen commitments: Canada isn’t excused from acting on climate change just because its fraction of the global emissions total is small.

In case you, Dear Reader, missed it, Saudi Arabia suggested that its “minuscule” contribution of a mere 1% to global GHG emissions justifies that it can limit its INDC to adaptation action while only the top 20 of the world’s emitters should focus on mitigation. To suggest that countries with “only” 1% of global emissions should get a free pass on mitigation doesn’t make sense on two fronts. It doesn’t fit with a long term need to completely phase-out fossil fuel emissions by 2050 and phase-in renewable energy access for all, and it also contradicts the very purpose of the ADP, tasked with “ensuring the highest possible mitigation efforts by all Parties”.

If Parties would follow Saudi Arabia’s reasoning, 83% of Annex I countries would also not have to contribute to mitigation, since countries like the Netherlands (0.5%) or France (1.1%) contribute the same amount or less than Saudi Arabia (1.2%) to the global GHG total. Following a similar logic, only about 70% of global emissions would be covered by mitigation action as the 172 countries with emissions equally “minuscule” as Saudi Arabia’s or lower emit about 30% of the total (calculated by ECO using 2011 GHG Data from the CAIT 2.0 database).

Saudi Arabia, climate change requires “the widest possible cooperation by all countries”, and such ambitious action is only possible if everybody is pulling their weight. A country that has both the high capacity to act (like yours) and, as a fossil fuel extractor, a high level of responsibility for the climate problem (like yours) will need to contribute its fair share to mitigation. While there might be a degree of disagreement on how high exactly your fair contribution to mitigation would be, ECO is quite certain it’s more than nothing. Just saying. 

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Colossal Fossil for Australia’s New Government

This year’s Colossal Fossil goes to Australia. The new Australian Government has won its first major international award – the Colossal Fossil. The delegation came here with legislation in its back pocket to repeal the carbon price, failed to take independent advice to increase its carbon pollution reduction target and has been blocking progress in the loss and damage negotiations. Aussie Aussie Aussie Oi Oi Oi!

Canada is dishonored with a special Lifetime Unachievement Fossil Award for its long-standing efforts preventing this process from making a sufficient contribution to the fight against climate change. As long as Canada and the Harper Government puts their addiction to the tar sands first, Canada will continue to be a Fossil champion.

Canada’s record is in indeed unsurpassed – it is the only country in the world to withdraw from the Kyoto Protocol. And it did not event meet its pitifully lowered emissions reduction target announced in the lead-up to the Copenhagen COP. Canada’s stance is also rubbing off on other countries at the negotiations. Following Canada’s Kyoto “lead,” Japan abandoned its own 2020 target, and when Australia proposed to cut its carbon price, Canada cheered instead of staging an intervention. Canada you truly are a climate laggard... again... and again.

Singapore slinks to first Fossil for stingy stance on 2015 deal

The first place Fossil of the Day goes to Singapore for strongly opposing the inclusion of the clear elements of a roadmap to the comprehensive global climate action planned that needs to be agreed in 2015. The island city-state is blocking the development of framework to fairly divide climate action between countries. Furthermore, Singapore is promoting weak language in the text on the post-2020 carbon pollution reduction commitments, preventing national actions being integrated in a rules-based multilateral system. Despite being a member of AOSIS, Singapore is blocking progress towards the 2015 deal because of their unwillingness accept they must contribute to the solution.

Second place Fossil goes to U.S.A. We have been hearing that the Americans came here with a mandate to play a constructive role in the negotiations, which is not currently being reflected. They are blocking progress on a Long Term Finance pathway as well as an agreement on the relationship between the COP and the Green Climate Fund (GCF), which are critical issues for developing countries. The U.S. is also being difficult around the establishment of an international mechanism on loss and damage, which was agreed at COP 18 last year. This is complete backtracking and a betrayal to the millions of poor and vulnerable people around the world.

Saudi Arabia wins the third place Fossil of the Day. Saudi Arabia wants to introduce the issue of “Response Measures” into the 2015 agreement. Response Measures is the about how countries like Saudi Arabia would be compensated for any loss in oil sales if the world decides to reduce the use of fossils fuels to solve climate change. It would be surprising to many to see Saudi Arabia asking governments for financial compensation when they have one the highest GDPs in the world for selling the substance that caused climate change in the first place. But Saudi Arabia is not interested in financial compensation. They just want to poison the negotiations. They are not fooling anybody.

Ray of the Day goes to Chile. The Alliance of Independent Latin American and Caribbean States (AILAC) has proven itself to be the gold standard in civil society engagement, moral integrity and simple logic by championing youth in the ADP and putting forward Intergenerational Equity. 

Ontario Moves Beyond Coal

After being subjected to the taste of coal in the air and statements about the inevitability of continued coal use for almost two weeks, at last we have exciting news from the Canadian province of Ontario. The provincial government has just announced it will switch off its last active coal-fired power plant within weeks.

This will make Canada’s most populous province the first jurisdiction in the world to complete a coal phase-out. Just 10 years ago coal was 27% of the energy mix in Ontario’s power sector, with a total capacity of 7,500 MW. This week’s announcement is an example of how political will, spurred by public concern and combined with smart policies supporting energy efficiency and renewables, can help break coal addiction. As a result, smog, dust and mercury levels have already fallen substantially, and GHG emissions from the Ontario electricity sector were slashed by 75%, making this the largest carbon reduction project in North America.

Note that this feat was achieved despite a federal policy environment in Canada that is entirely hostile to climate action and has been moving the country in the opposite direction. Case in point: in the same period of the coal phase-out unfolded in Ontario, emissions from tar sands oil, a resource aggressively promoted by the federal Conservative government, soared by roughly the same amount that the Ontario coal phase-out saved. So in effect the additional emissions from tar sands exploitation have cancelled the gains from Ontario’s flagship climate action program.

Federally promoted tar sands growth is also the single biggest reason why Canada’s own estimated emissions growth is 20% above the target pledged in Copenhagen.

While it’s a good thing the new Canadian environment minister decided to attend the Warsaw COP, ECO wants to remind her that claiming to play a leadership role on climate is not the same as actually being a leader. Perhaps she should have a word with her Ontario counterpart. Here are some relevant ideas for real climate action: promoting renewables and energy efficiency, getting rid of fossil fuel subsidies, phasing out coal and reversing oil growth are all good.

At the same time we are celebrating the Ontario announcement as a clear sign that the end of the coal era is coming, there are also encouraging signs internationally.

Yesterday the UK announced they would build on the new US policy to end financing of coal-fired power plants abroad. As the energy and climate minister rightly pointed out, ‘It is completely illogical for countries like the UK and the US to be decarbonizing our own energy sectors while paying for coal-fired power plants to be built in other countries’. Now it’s time for Japan, Germany and other countries that continue to finance coal abroad to join this positive effort to phase out global fossil fuel subsidies.

Congrats, Ontario.

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How Much Climate Finance Will Developed Countries Provide in 2013 and Beyond?

 

Based on pledges/statements made in UNFCCC…

Finland, France, Germany, Denmark, Norway, Sweden and the UK were first off the blocks in making financial pledges in Doha.  This was welcome. But the adequacy and the clarity of these pledges vary significantly and need to be pinned down.

And then there’s the rest…

No developed country Party should be coming back to this process empty handed! ALL developed countries need to urgently commit to what climate finance they will provide in 2013 and beyond, in a way that is transparent, comparable and makes clear how finance is new and additional.

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CANADA AND NEW ZEALAND TIE FOR THE INFAMOUS COLOSSAL FOSSIL 2012 AWARD

 

This year’s Fossil of the Year Award, The Colossal Fossil, goes to Canada and New Zealand! After a 5-year reign as the Colossal Fossil, it seems Canada is refusing to bow out gracefully into the irrelevance that comes with being an historic climate laggard. They, instead, stood strong for inaction throughout the UN climate talks, challenged only by the up and coming New Zealand.

Although Canada can share the honour for one more year, Fossil feels that Canada’s tar sands are, frankly, giving Canada an unfair advantage in this competition – Canada has been carbon doping!

For a country whose emissions are similar in scale to the Canadian tar sands, New Zealand has demonstrated exceptional blindness to scientific and political realities. Surprising many and disappointing all, New Zealand has fought hard to unseat 5-time Colossal Fossil winner, Canada, in a campaign of extreme selfishness and irresponsibility. While New Zealand may have helped drown the talks for another year, New Zealand's small and vulnerable Pacific neighbours should take heart that they have not been forgotten - New Zealand intends to drown them too.

 

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Tarnished: Dirty Oil Smears Canada's Reputation

Canada’s environment minister, Peter Kent, arrived in Doha yesterday under the long shadow of the tar sands. 

Since Durban, his government has been working hard to dismantle Canada’s environmental protection laws to speed up resource extraction, an initiative that government has been promoting under the Orwellian slogan of “responsible resource development.”
 
ECO has warned over and over again about the creeping influence of Canada’s massive deposit of carbon intensive “unconventional oil”. Larger in geographic extent than the entire nation of Qatar, and generating more emissions than all of New Zealand, the tar sands have been called the planet’s largest “carbon bomb”. 
 
Projections from Minister Kent’s own department show that the growth in tar sands emissions by 2020 (73 Mt) will virtually cancel out all other emission reductions in Canada’s economy (75 Mt). And yet Ottawa has done nothing to curb the sector’s exploding GHG pollution.
 
Quite the opposite -- government documents suggest that Canada has taken international climate policies to some of the largest tar sands corporations in Canada for vetting. 
 
Great news for Canada’s Fossil trophy case: the CEOs love what they called Canada’s “elegant” approach.  So now, a new report by the Canadian Youth Delegation, Commitment Issues, digs into the tar sands’ expansion blueprint, documenting the sector’s plans to blow past the production levels outlined in the IEA’s 450 scenario.  Looking at how Canadian government is attached to its dirty oil, it's no surprise that current subsidies to the fossil fuel industry surpass those for climate finance by a ratio of 7 to 1.
 
Right now, Canada’s “drill baby drill” approach for tar sands is smearing the country’s reputation, keeping its climate policy hostage in the process. He supposedly wants to show the world that climate change does matter to his government.  To do so, Environment Minister Peter Kent needs to start by unveiling some real “tough on tar” policies this week in Doha.
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MORE FOSSILS FOR NEW ZEALAND, USA AND CANADA: ACCOUNTANTS NEEDED TO TALLY TOTALS

 


Photo Credit: CAN Europe

The First Place Fossil goes to New Zealand and the USA for not wanting to advance common accounting rules here in Doha.  CAN was shocked in today’s spin off group on 1b1 when New Zealand had the gall to declare that countries will not agree on common accounting in Doha and thus a pragmatic approach would be to continue talking.  Oh New Zealand, if only that approach would work on climate change!!  But we all know, as Hurricane Sandy dramatically reminded us, climate change waits for no government. So the pragmatic approach would, in fact, be to finally agree that a tonne is a tonne is a tonne and all must be reduced!  The USA has long not moved on this issue and today’s session was no different. But as South Africa helpfully reminded us, it is no longer acceptable to just refer to the system as “rigorous, robust and transparent” but you actually need to agree on the rules to make that happen.  Time to get to work!

Canada wins the Second Place Fossil of the Day award. Oh Canada. When will you give fossil a break? You have failed on Kyoto and you are embarrassing on mitigation, but it seems you will not be content until you hit rock bottom on finance too. You won a first place fossil two days ago for holding finance in the green climate fund hostage, and now we have confirmed you are also breaking with agreed practice when it comes to NAMA support.

By walking away from the agreement to provide information on support available for NAMAs in the Registry, as you indicated yesterday in the SBI, you are not only breaking promises but you are destroying trust. Canada, it is true that we gave up on you a long time ago, but we had hoped if you weren’t going to do anything about your emissions you would at least do your fair share to support those suffering from your soaring pollution.

Lets break it down:

Oh Canada. When will you give fossil a break?
No money, no target, no pledges to make.
Mitigation? No way. Kyoto? Won't play.
GCF or NAMA no new money coming from our way.

Oh Canada, we thought you were done.
Promises broke, trust left with no-one,
Progress, you keep stalling. Your stock keeps on falling,
Positions on finance, mitigation, and more...frankly appalling

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