Bridging the Divide: The Role of Canada and Major Developing Countries in a Strong Climate Deal cover

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This year is a critical year for safeguarding the climate. The global community has been negotiating the second phase of the Kyoto Protocol since 2005 (the first ends in 2012) and examining enhanced contributions from developing countries since 2007. A conference in Copenhagen in December of this year is the deadline for completing these negotiations and agreeing upon a framework to fight dangerous climate change in the post-2012 period. It remains to be seen whether the world will move beyond the very modest commitments taken in the first phase of the Kyoto Protocol and agree to a bold and ambitious global regime whose actions match the scale of the problem.

Unfortunately, Canada has been slow to act domestically and quick to impede progress internationally, having spent much of the last three years telling its citizens that the responsibility for acting on climate change lies with emerging economies such as China, India, South Africa, Mexico, and Brazil. Canada has little credibility in targeting developing countries, as we have reneged on our own Kyoto Protocol commitments.

This technical briefing note will lay out the reasons why Canada is a barrier to a strong Copenhagen agreement—much more so than China or other developing countries—and what our government can do to change that.