Thursday, December 18, 2008

A disapointing end to COP 14

Well it’s over. I began COP 14 with high hopes for progress towards Copenhagen and a post-Kyoto climate plan, but this did not happen. COP 14 failed to produce any significant progress. There were a few outcomes (an Adaptation Fund Board was created) but hardly the kind and number we had hoped for. It was not only Canadian NGO’s and youth who left disappointed, but international delegates and NGO’s as well. The world really was watching Canada actions at the negotiations to see if they would finally take meaningful action to fight climate change. But sadly for Canadians – and tragically for those whose nations will be underwater as a result of sea level rise—Canada did nothing.

Canada also had the dishonourable distinction of wining the Colossal Fossil also known as the Fossil of the Year – an award given o the country who has won the most Fossil of the Day awards at the COP. Canada was recognized by the Climate action Network International (a group of over 400 international NGO’s) as the country who did the most at COP14 to obstruct negotiations.

The excuses were plentiful: “We’re waiting for the US to act”, “We’re waiting for China, India and Brazil to act”, “ Our cold climate and long distances between cities prevents us from doing anything”, “We can’t do anything until consumers change their fossil fuel consumption habits” and so on.

So what can we do between now and Copenhagen? Write letters to your MP telling then that the federal governments’ inaction on climate change means not only ill effects for Canadians, but threatens the very existence of many developing and island nations who did contributed almost nothing to the problem. Write to your local and provincial representatives and Minsters of the Environment demanding action at their respective levels of governments. Tell them that in light of federal inaction, we must look to the sub-federal level for concrete action on the issue of climate change. Let’s apply pressure from the bottom up because if we wait for the federal government to act, we’ll all be old and grey (and possibly underwater) when they get around to doing something about it.

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