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
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
"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
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
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
"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.