Cold, northern, oil-exporting country shows climate leadership | Climate & Clean Energy | David Suzuki Foundation

By Dale Marshall, Climate Change Policy Analyst

No, it's not Canada. But a development here at the climate change talks in Bangkok makes me wonder what is truly keeping Canada from showing the same leadership. In Bangkok today, Norway announced that it was upping its greenhouse gas target for 2020, strengthening it from a 30% reduction in global warming pollution to a 40% reduction.

The best climate science shows that rich, polluting countries should be reducing emissions by at least 40% in order to avoid the most dangerous impacts of climate change. Norway is now committed to meeting that challenge. Other industrialized countries, like Australia and the 27 countries in the European Union, are at least in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change target range of 25-40% reductions. Japan's new government won an election on a promise of making 25% reductions and promptly announced to the world it would deliver that.

Canada? Our commitment is a laughably weak reduction of 3%. The Canadian government tells its international partners at UN conferences—it did again here this week—that we could not possibly reduce our pollution any more than that because of our "national circumstances." Yet all the excuses for why we can't do more also apply to Norway—we are a cold, northern country, with a small population compared to our geographic size, and we produce and export oil and gas.

These arguments are even more ridiculous when you consider that international commitments are made based on a 1990 baseline. Maybe my geography is weak, but Canada has not become larger or colder since 1990.

What has changed since then is that Canada is determined to accelerate oil exports from the oil sands, while not making oil sands companies take responsibility for their pollution. Expect the upcoming global warming plan—is this Canada's fifth or sixth? I lose track—to have the same huge loopholes for the oil sands.

Maybe Prime Minister Harper should go visit the Norwegian PM to find out how Canada could also step up to make December's UN climate summit a success. With the rapidly melting polar ice cap, he just has to sail North.

[Originally posted on Vancouver Sun — Community of Interest]

October 8, 2009
http://www.davidsuzuki.org/blogs/climate-blog/2009/10/cold-northern-oil-exporting-country-shows-climate-leadership/

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