Canada faces a difficult reality on the world stage. We are 33% above our Kyoto targets, which start less than a month from now. Unfortunately, years of inaction by the previous Liberal government and former environment minister Stephane Dion have prevented our country from doing more to tackle climate change. Mr. Dion has cloaked himself in green, but Canadians have not been fooled by the fact that the Liberal party and Mr. Dion have paid only lip-service toward real action. Fighting climate change takes more than naming your dog Kyoto.
Our government believes that leadership on the world stage starts at home. That's why we have taken real action with our Turning the Corner plan to cut greenhouse gas emissions in absolute terms by 20% by 2020, and by 60%-70% by 2050.
As Canada's Environment Minister, I will be proud to lead the Canadian delegation in Indonesia this coming week, to speak with other leaders, the United Nations and environmental groups about the exciting work being done to fight climate change right here at home. Canada's position in Indonesia is that the world must come together and agree on three broad points: - To launch negotiations on a post-2012 climate change agreement. - To create a consensus on what the building blocks of a future agreement would be. - To set an end-date for negotiations (Canada will be pushing for 2009).
These goals are shared by Yvo de Boer, the executive secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.
As we have said all along, any post-2012 climate change framework
must go beyond the boundaries of what the Kyoto Protocol originally set out to do. In particular, Prime Minister Stephen Harper has been very clear that such an agreement must: - Include major emitters, such as China, India and the United States. - Be fair and realistic without placing unfair burdens on any one country. - Be long-term and flexible. - Reflect a balanced approach that preserves economic growth while protecting our environment.
By 2050, industrialized countries that have accepted greenhouse gas reduction targets under the Kyoto Protocol will be responsible for only 18% of projected emissions. Even if the entire developed world cut their carbon use, emissions would still skyrocket by 2050.
Our government believes that every country needs to do its share in the global fight against climate change. We are willing to accept absolute binding targets on emissions, but we need all major emitters on board. Eliminating emissions in one country but allowing them to skyrocket in another does nothing to reduce the global burden of harmful substances that contribute to climate change and pollute the air we breathe. Studies show that even if Canada were to eliminate all of its greenhouse gas emissions, China's would replace every last ounce of them within 18 months.
As Minister of the Environment, I will be working with the world community in Indonesia to chart a course forward on fighting climate change after 2012. I am hopeful that the world will accept the challenge. - John Baird is Canada's Environment Minister and will be leading Canada's delegation to the United Nation's Conference on Climate Change in Indonesia.
Whether we agree to the science of the thing or not, it would be great if an agreement was signed that included all the big emmitters, just so Global Warming would not be an election issue in Canada any longer.
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