Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Environment Minister Peter Kent have broken Canada's commitment to the Kyoto Protocol. This reckless decision clearly signals that Canada is turning its back on the global fight against climate change and the world our children will inherit.
Further to Canada's disappointing performance at Durban, this decision will only further harm our credibility on the world stage.
At the UN climate change summit in Durban, the federal government didn't offer constructive solutions nor did it show progress or even an effective plan to reduce global warming emissions. Rather, Canada was identified by countries like South Africa and India as a barrier to working out an effective response to global warming.
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Although Stephen Harper claims the Kyoto Protocol has failed, he's wrong. It is our federal government that has failed as many countries, like those within the European Union, are on track to reach their emission targets. The government of Canada appears to be ripping up Kyoto not to do more about the huge challenge of climate change but to do less.
The current trend of greenhouse gas emissions building up in the atmosphere is putting our world on a dangerous pathway to warming levels of 4˚C or more, and a 4-year or 10-year delay on action would be catastrophic for the fight against climate change.
But there is reason for hope. Many of Canada's provinces and cities are showing true leadership — Ontario's renewable energy plan, B.C.'s carbon tax incentive, and Quebec's law to cap and reduce emissions, Vancouver's Greenest City Plan — but we could do so much more if the federal government was a true partner.
If appearances are deceiving and Canada is in fact serious about avoiding runaway climate change, the federal government needs to come forward and immediately show how it will fill the huge hole left behind by yesterday's announcement. In the meantime, Canadians, provinces and cities must continue to lead our country in global efforts to build a better future and a safer, cleaner economy for everyone.