With climate negotiations starting next week in Copenhagen, the world is losing patience with Canada.
Since announcing that it would abandon its targets to cut greenhouse gases under the Kyoto protocol in 2006, Canada has consistently been seen as a global climate laggard. This was again confirmed earlier this week in a report by the Pew Center on Global Climate Change, which showed that Canada has among the least ambitious emissions targets of developed countries heading into Copenhagen. Canada's record on climate change is so bad that a coalition of scientists and officials from developing countries is asking that Canada be suspended from the Commonwealth.
This past week has seen an increasing number of negative news articles that alternate between calling out Canada's Harper government as hypocritical, "creepy," and generally disappointing, for the government's obstructive tactics heading into climate negotiations. George Monbiot, Guardian newspaper columnist and the author of Heat, a bestselling book on climate change, spelled it out for the world in his column earlier this week: "Canada's image lies in tatters. It is now to climate what Japan is to whaling."
Monbiot writes that Canadian climate negotiators have been, "behaving with all the sophistication of a chimpanzee's tea party." He continues:
Until now I believed that the nation that has done most to sabotage a new climate change agreement was the United States. I was wrong. The real villain is Canada. Unless we can stop it, the harm done by Canada in December 2009 will outweigh a century of good works.
Why is Canada risking its reputation as a thoughtful and responsible world leader? You guessed it -- the tar sands.
Canada's efforts to protect its dirty interests in the Alberta tar sands has put it on a collision course with world efforts to stop global warming. Its investment in expanding tar sands projects is the most destructive and desperate attempt yet to profit from and prolong humanity's crippling addiction to oil. Extracting oil from these sludgy deposits in the heart of Canada's Boreal forest results in three times more global warming emissions per barrel than extracting conventional oil. It's the world's largest single source of greenhouse gas pollution.
If you care about the climate and our clean energy future, the tar sands is your business. Want to know more? Take a minute to watch this startling new video which chronicles just how dangerous and damaging the tar sands are. It will inspire you to take action -- whether you're in Canada, Copenhagen or California.
As climate talks begin next week, Rainforest Action Network -- along with a coalition of indigenous peoples, environmentalists, and scientists -- will be in Copenhagen to insist that Canada stop pushing the world towards a climate catastrophe, and embrace the clean energy future.
As George Monbiot put it: "The immediate threat to the global effort to sustain a peaceful and stable world comes not from Saudi Arabia or Iran or China. It comes from Canada. How could that be true?"
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