Ottawa signs on to rival emissions pact

After addressing a United Nations session aimed at reviving Kyoto, Harper says Canada will join the Asia-Pacific Partnership

From Tuesday's Globe and Mail

UNITED NATIONS — Prime Minister Stephen Harper used a United Nations conference aimed at saving the Kyoto Protocol as a backdrop yesterday to announce that Canada would join a rival climate change pact.

Hours after urging all countries to cut greenhouse-gas emissions by 50 per cent in any successor to Kyoto, Mr. Harper told reporters Canada would become the seventh member of the Asia-Pacific Partnership, a group nicknamed the anti-Kyoto partnership by some environmentalists.

Seeking to portray Canada as a bridge-builder on the climate change file, Mr. Harper said he wants to be involved in the partnership so he can coax its members into joining a new deal under the United Nations when Kyoto expires in 2012.

The Asia-Pacific Partnership, created last year by Australia, China, India, Japan, Korea and the United States, has been criticized for lacking the mandatory targets contained in Kyoto. Together, the six countries account for nearly half the world's greenhouse-gas emissions.


Mr. Harper has hinted previously that Canada would like to join the partnership. His announcement yesterday that this would happen at a meeting in New Delhi next month followed a speech in which he called for a "flexible, balanced" new UN plan to halve greenhouse-gas emissions from their 2006 levels by 2050. His government's plan calls for Canada to cut emissions by 60 to 70 per cent by 2050.

"It's critical that ... all major emitters have binding targets, and one of the reasons it's important for Canada to participate in the Asia-Pacific Partnership is these are the major emitters on the planet," Mr. Harper told reporters. "Those are the discussions we want to be involved in because these are the people that have to get involved in an effective global protocol, or we won't have such a protocol."

Mr. Harper, who has been criticized for focusing on targets that are several decades away, told reporters that medium-term targets are also required.

"It's step by step," he said. "My view is there has to be a long-term target but there also will have to be milestones along the way to reach that target. That's my view, otherwise you won't have an effective protocol. We've got a long way to go to get there. We didn't get there with Kyoto. We've got to have, this time, a protocol that gets us there."

Cutting emissions by 50 per cent by 2050 is favoured by the European Union, but was opposed by the United States when the Group of Eight industrialized nations said it should be given "serious consideration" at their meeting in June. However, because Mr. Harper uses 2006 as the baseline, rather than Kyoto's 1990, it is not as onerous as the 50-per-cent reductions called for by European Union nations.

United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon had summoned world leaders to New York yesterday for a one-day "high-level" session, where he urged them to give their officials the green light to negotiate a Kyoto extension.

Mr. Harper did not mention the Kyoto Protocol in his address, instead calling for something different.

"There is an emerging consensus on the need for a new, effective and flexible climate change framework, one that commits all the world's major emitters to real targets and concrete action against global greenhouse-gas emissions," he said.

U.S. President George W. Bush had been expected to address the Kyoto meeting yesterday, but opted instead to only attend a private leaders' dinner. The President has invited 15 of the world's largest greenhouse-gas emitters to Washington later this week for a two-day summit on climate change, in which Environment Minister John Baird will participate.

Mr. Harper's efforts to portray Canada as a bridge between Kyoto countries and non-Kyoto countries received a none-too-veiled rebuke yesterday from a young Canadian who addressed the main assembly.

Catherine Gauthier, 18, speaking on behalf of a host of environmental organizations, said the next UN climate change meeting this December in Bali must extend Kyoto.

"There are spin doctors in certain capitals that will try to convince you otherwise with their 'diplomatic breakthroughs,' 'bridges' and 'complementary processes.' But there is only one road to a safe climate and it leads to Bali," said Ms. Gauthier.



Commentary in the Globe and Mail September 25, 2007

  1.  It's an agreement you have when you are not having an agreement. Mr. Harper is signing on to being another puppet voice for the American anti agreement. First Canada agreed to the Kyoto Protocol and now primarily because it does not suit US interests Mr. Harper wants to join John Howard in being another puppet of American foreign policy. Just how much brown nosing does Mr. Harper think he has to do to win that acceptance down south? Its doing indirectly what cannot be done directly, its a common trend that encourages a corrupt mentality and a lack of principles. Mr. Harper has a more serious issue right here in Canada and thats the declining birth rate. Perhaps Mr. Harper should ask why? Its because Canada has failed to legislate a mandatory presumption of equal parenting. Another issue Mr. Harper and the attorney general of Ontario need to deal with is officers of the court who fabricate evidence and commit fraud and obstruction of justice in court. Its permanently alienating children from their fathers. Parliaments failure to have a legal presumption for equal parenting after divorce encourages real crime in family court. It encourages feminist lawyers to fabricate evidence and knowingly commit criminal offences in court such as fraud and obstruction of justice. A classic example of such a lawyer is Lesley Kendall from the Kingston law firm Cunningham, Swan, Carty, Little & Bohham. Lesley Kendall fabricated an affidavit with a Kingston Police Officer that she was threatened by a father to gain a lifetime restraining order banishing a father from the City of Kingston to get around an order of Justice W.G. Beatty who ordered an expedited trial of custody when presented with evidence of F R A U D. Lesley Kendall knew she was arguing who own fraudulent evidence to cover up F R A U D. She obstructed justice, and then obtained costs orders of around $20,000 to prevent any further litigation regarding the child’s best interests.