Canada on the spotlight on the first day of the Climate Negotiations in Cancun

by Moisés Flores Baca

One of the side events that receives the most attention during Climate Change Conferences (since 1999) is the “Fossil of the Day” awards organized by the Climate Action Network (CAN). The award is given to the worst-performing country of the previous day. Yesterday Canada was the proud receiver of this award, not for its performing in the negotiations themselves since there were no negotiations on Sunday, but for its performing in recent months.

Normally three different countries are selected to receive awards but Canada’s performance in the Climate Change Arena prior to the start of the negotiations was so outstandingly bad that it received the three awards itself, something that is not new for Canada: it received the three awards in COP12(Bali) as well . The first award was given to Canada because this November its federal Senate killed a progressive climate change bill without even debating it. The second award was to recognize the efforts of the Canadian conservative government to cut the only major renewable energy support program, its funding for a climate science foundation, amongst other would-be-helpful projects. The third and final project was awarded to Canada because it decided to reduce its national target after Copenhagen and brought back environment minister John Baird, who was the last minister to oppose the science-based target range of 25-40% reductions below 1990 levels in 2020 during the Bali negotiations.

It will be interesting to follow closely the performance of Canada during the Cancun negotiations for it is in most perfect compliance with the US position of not accepting any legally binding ambitious agreements, thus epitomizing the attitude that other countries are taking of not proposing anything themselves, of not acting by themselves but waiting for what the US decides to do, that we know will not be very promising. The “if you don’t do anything I won’t do anything either” attitude that many national delegations display is going to be one of the biggest obstacles to overcome during these two weeks of negotiations.

On behalf of the COA COP16 delegation I would like to congratulate Canada on its three awards.

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