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Doha Climate Talks End With Canada Leading Race To The Bottom

2012/12/10
Graphic: Sustainability The Musical

Graphic: Sustainability The Musical

So, COP18 in Doha has ended with a whimper not a bang – quelle surprise! Seems like greed is still trumping common sense, as well as compassion for both our children and the global poor. While Doha did win recognition for poorer nations for the “loss and damage from climate change” that they are suffering, and a promise of financial compensation from richer polluter countries, its “big” accomplishment was the extension of the Kyoto protocol. This is the same Kyoto protocol which has done nothing to keep the world from careening ever closer to the edge of climate disaster since it was signed in 1997.

Climate Action Network Canada members responded to the DOHA COP18 outcome as follows:

“I would like to know how leaders from countries like ours can be so indifferent to the looming reality of a world 4 degrees warmer than today. The science is clear, the solutions exist, the economy is thirsty for it, and the impacts of inaction are increasingly devastating – so where is the political will and leadership? Leaders let the world down again this year by coming to the table largely empty-handed on meaningful ways to close the growing gap between where they are and where they have promised to be to avoid 2 degrees of global warming. The Canadian Government was determined to lead the race to the bottom on the central issue of finance, insisting on holding out for at least 3 more years until they contribute to the Green Climate Fund. In Doha the critical path we need to be on is still alive in this process, but it needs leadership and political will to move forward and that is clearly missing here.”

– Hannah McKinnon, Campaigns Director, Climate Action Network Canada

“Bopha, Sandy, floods in Pakistan, droughts in China… How many reports from the likes of the World Bank, NASA and the International Energy Agency will it take? How many preventable catastrophes until our leaders realize that climate change will not be solved by nice speeches and empty promises? Countries like Canada and the U.S. have promised to reduce their greenhouse gas pollution and provide adequate financial support for developing countries, they have so far failed on both counts.”

– Steven Guilbeault, Deputy Director, Equiterre

“The package we got today in Doha won’t keep us on a secure pathway to prevent warming of more than two degrees. We have a very vague process that might lead to increased ambition but only if political will shifts. In recent years we have seen a serious lack of political will from countries like the US and Canada who have continually blocked the process. This crisis was created by wealthy big polluters like Canada and the U.S., and they need to step up and show leadership in solving it. Governments must stop working for the polluters, and start working for the people. In order to do this, Canada must stop reckless tar sands expansion and pipelines projects.”

– Patrick Bonin, Climate and Energy Campaigner, Greenpeace Canada

“World leaders have failed in their commitments at COP18, Canada most of all. Canada’s lack of ambition and commitment with these negotiations is rooted in the unsustainable expansion of the tar sands and the influence of dirty energy, dirty money and dirty politics. In spite of the cries of youth from around the world we are far behind keeping temperatures within the 2 °C limit. This will have serious implications in the most vulnerable parts of the world, where the people who are the least responsible for creating this crisis are experiencing, and will continue to experience, this devastating climate legacy.In terms of finance, Hurricane Sandy alone is set to cost $60 billion, the same amount being asked for in climate finance in Doha. If one storm costs that, its clearly nowhere near enough for the whole world.”

-Perla Hernandez, Canadian Youth Delegation, COP18

Despite demands from civil society both within and outside of the country for responsible action, the federal government had outraged us again both nationally and internationally by continuing to defend business as usual, and by blocking ambitious achievements at the global scale. We demand that the Canadian government put an end to this inaction and join provincial and local governments in taking a strong stand against locking us into infrastructure that fuels our dangerous addiction to tar sands and shale gas.”

– Aida Ahmadi, Climate and Energy Campaigner, AQLPA

“As the conference ends, I am very concerned about rules of conduct tightening for civil society participation. With more and more restrictions, the contribution to the process by environmental groups, and especially the youth, is seriously compromised.”

– Catherine Gauthier, ENvironnement JEUnesse Ambassador

100,000 km arctic ice melting

3 Comments leave one →
  1. 2012/12/10 5:28 pm

    Woohoo! Canada Leads the Race! Oh. Wait.

    It will never cease to amaze me how world leaders can justify inaction on climate with immature arguments like “well, if he’s not doing it, neither am I”. I wish one world leader would have the guts to say “We can’t take concrete action on climate because the fossil fuel industry has us by the… umm… privates”. At least that would be honest.

    And yet, like you quoted above, “The science is clear, the solutions exist, the economy is thirsty for it”. Even if you ignore the devastation that will come with climate change, there are so many great reasons to get off of fossil fuels. And yet, we continue to drill, fracture and scrap the Earth’s crust in order to find every last drop of dino-juice.

    I leave you with a great quote by Chris Hayes:

    “Delighting in our carbon extraction boom is staggeringly, almost psychopathically perverse because, well, it is exactly that carbon extraction that is hurling the world toward a distopic future, a possible 4 degrees Celsius global temperature rise, droughts, floods, storms, disease, death, crop failures, and on and on.”

    • 2012/12/11 1:42 pm

      Yes, it seems that we are peering over the cliff to disaster, determined to hurtle ourselves over. And thanks for the Chris Hayes quote – he’s great!

      • 2012/12/11 1:49 pm

        No problem. I really like him too! I just wrote a post about one of his shows this past weekend.

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