Tag Archives: Stephen Harper

Canada Makes Headlines in ECO, a NGO Newsletter

11 Dec

This is taken directly from ECO, an NGO newsletter made available at the COP conference:

Canada’s government must be working overtime chatting up reporters here in Copenhagen. The news they’re so eager to spread is that, according to Yvo de Boer, Canada has been “negotiating very constructively” this week.

The Canadian delegation is obviously as surprised as we are that anyone has good things to say about Canada, the home of one of the weakest mid-term emission targets in the industrialized world.

It cannot be Canada’s record on Kyoto compliance that impressed the UNFCCC’s chief official. (In case anyone has forgotten: Canada’s emissions are now a solid 34% above that pesky Kyoto target.) The lack of financing pledge probably hasn’t won Canada any new friends either.

We also doubt de Boer was impressed by Canada’s decision to show up in Copenhagen without a serious plan for domestic emissions reductions. (Note to Canada: “waiting for the US” is not actually a plan. Nor is “massively expanding the tar sands.”)

But maybe the Executive Secretary was just anticipating even worse behaviour with the arrival of Canadian Environment Minister Jim Prentice this weekend. That would be the environment minister who recently vowed not to “be a Boy Scout” at the negotiating table, and swore not to “panic” when faced with the “hype and drama” of Copenhagen. In other words, the world better get used to Canada being the laggard.

This is the same Minister who dismissed a reduction target of 25% below 1990 levels for 2020 in Canada as “divisive” and “irresponsible” – even though a study has shown that Canada could meet this target while growing its economy by over 20% and creating nearly two million net new jobs.

If this is what constructive looks like, we’d hate to see destructive.

Tar Sands Debrief

11 Dec

Hi Everyone: Today UWSP’s Tyler, Sylvie, Julia, Emily and Elaine attended the Canadian Youth Delegation meeting. Sylvie and Tyler have taken on a new task for spreading the word about Tar Sands in Canada. We will be printing questions such as “Why isn’t Canada pushing for an ambitious agreement at Copenhagen?” and “Why is Steven Harper opposed to Canadian action on climate change?” All of these questions that will be printed with a black tar stained maple leaf will (hopefully) be placed on every party seat in the Plenary and also on media seats – and actually everywhere possible! We want the global community to know Canada is embarrassing the people and not properly representing us on the international stage.

Here is a debrief to help you all better understand what the tar sands are and how they are TARNISHING our image. [This is taken from an email sent to me in order to have the proper knowledge when doing this project]

“Although only currently accounting for 5% of Canada’s emissions, the tar sands are the single largest contributor to growth in emissions and single largest source of projected new emissions. Tar sands emissions have increased more than 200% since 1990 and — if not regulated properly — will account for 12% of Canada’s emissions in2020, an increase of over 44% from 2006. Environment Canada has estimated that, per unit of output, GHG emissions from oil sands mining and upgrading are about five times greater than those from conventional light/medium crude oil production. They are the number one reason Alberta and Canada’s emissions are rising instead of falling….. with South Africa’s new emissions-intensity target that they announced last week, they have a more ambitious plan for reducing emissions than Alberta.

Carbon-capture and storage (CCS) is problematic for three reasons… (1) It is an expensive technology, both because it is new, and because it carries major energy and infrastructure costs. Not all areas have the suitable geology and sound regulation needed to minimize environmental risk. (2) CCS should only be considered as part of a portfolio of solutions,and adequate attention also must be paid to more sustainable, low-impact energy solutions, especially renewable energy and energy efficiency. Public investment in CCS must not come at the expense of the public investment needed to ensure a massive scale-up of energy efficiency and low-impact renewable energy production. For example, the federal government is not renewing the Eco-energy program for renewable energy and are spending 14 times less per capita on renewable energy than President Obama. While at the same time, the Alberta and Canadian governments have given over $2billion in CCS research, development, and deployment… this is “corporate welfare” for tar sands companies who are comfortably profiting… these corporations will then likely get the Intellectual Property Rights to this technology and then make even more while selling the technology to developing countries. (3) It will not significantly reduce emissions from Alberta’s tarsands. While it can reduce emissions from coal-fired power generation by90%, it will only reduce emissions from tar sands processing by 10% to30%. Alongside its contribution to climate change, the tar sands have significant negative ecological (particularly on water resources and boreal forests) and human/social effects (particularly on local indigenous communities). Industry does not currently have a way to deal effectively with tailings, the lakes of toxic waste produced from oil sands development. Tar sands production also requires substantial consumption of water and natural gas, consuming relatively clean resources to produce dirty, bottom of the barrel synthetic oil. Many indigenous communities downstream from the tar sands are being impacted adversely by tar sands development and have experienced adverse health impacts and disruption to their traditional ways of life. (http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/oil-sands-emissions-polluting-waterways-study-finds/article1392239/) The CYD supports an immediate moratorium on further Tar Sands development (with support for affected workers) until its emissions profile, ecological consequences, and human/social effects are resolved.”

Canadian Delegation Orders Youth to Tear Down Oil Sands Display at Climate Negotiations

10 Dec

This is quite disturbing. Our UWSP delegation was not involved in this and as far as I know, none of us even had the chance to SEE this display at the conference because it was so short lived. this is directly quoted from the Sierra Club Canada blog “Climate Crisis – Countdown to Copenhagen”:

In a blatant attempt to cover up Canada’s dirty little secret – the Alberta Tar Sands – the official Canadian Delegation successfully filed a complaint to the UNFCCC secretariat about a photo display put on by Canadian Youth. The display featured several large photos of the Alberta tar sands project with captions describing the multitude of environmental and human health effects of the project and even went so far as to say that Alberta has a right to emit because it’s a fossil fuel producer. The photos were on display for less than one day.

This followed on the heels of a youth meeting with Alberta Environment Minister Rob Renner which youth described as shocking and heartbreaking. Tears were shed as the minister refused to acknowledge the impacts of the tar sands. When an indigenous youth from Fort Smith Alberta asked his opinion of the two-jawed fish found in the Athabasca River, he replied that these things happen in nature and that there is no link to downstream effects of the mega project.

Canadian Youth Delegate Christel Hyshka had this to say, ‘‘Minister Renner tried to convince us that Alberta was a climate leader, but there is no denying that the oil sands are the fastest growing source of emissions in Canada, and that its unrestrained development will make meeting any significant greenhouse gas reduction target nearly impossible for our country. They acknowledge the risk, but are unwilling to take responsibility. Quite frankly, as an Albertan I’m embarrassed that this is a message they are bringing to the international stage”.

Canada is not acknowledging the impact of the tar sands. Sarah, Sylvie, and myself were involved in a protest yesterday regarding the tar sands in Alberta. It garnered what seemed like a fair amount of media attention (though you can’t see any of us in the photos). The CBC was there to pick it up. 

Sierra Club Blog Post: http://www.sierraclub.ca/climatecrisis/?p=1004 

CBC Article: http://www.cbc.ca/canada/north/story/2009/12/09/copenhagen-oilsands-protest.html#socialcomments-submit (I’ll warn you now that the comments from Canadians pretty much show exactly why our Country isn’t backing down)


Harper Plans to Attend COP15

26 Nov

All along Stephen Harper has said he has no plans to attend this year’s UN Climate Change Conference. Instead, Environment Minister Jim Prentice would represent Canada in Copenhagen. Suddenly, US President Barack Obama and Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao, two leaders who until recently weren’t planning on attending, will be in Copenhagen to represent their Nations. Under this new pressure, Stephen Harper, thankfully, has decided to grace COP15 with his pressence. I could take this opportunity to demonstrate how yet again Canada has opted to follow in the footsteps of the US as opposed to being a World Leader on its own. However, I am so happy that Stephen Harper has realised how important his being in Copenhagen is, I will drop it. Thank you Stephen Harper! I will see you in Copenhagen.


Now THAT’s Leadership!!!

16 Nov

This is where the EU stands on Copenhagen:

  • Aspires to play “leading role at Copenhagen
  • Will cut emissions by 20% from 1990 levels by 2020, or 30% if other big emitters take tough action
  • Wants rich nations to make 80-95% cut by 2050
  • Wants poorer nations to slow emissions growth
  • Says they face costs of $150bn per year by 2020, of which EU will pay $7bn-22bn from public finances
  • The world’s third-biggest GHG producer (11.8% of global emissions, 4,641mt CO2 equivalent)
  • Emissions per head: 17th in the world (9t of CO2 equivalent)
  • GDP (2008): $18.3tn
  • Amount of GHG emitted per $1m of GDP: 315t
  • Kyoto: Signed – has to get average emissions for 2008-2012 8% below 1990 level

Lets hope that the EU really does act as the leader and knocks some sense into Canada, the US, China, India, and the Gulf States. Currently it’s 5 against 1…


Stephen Harper Please Step Up!

15 Nov

From: TDH Strategies

For those of you who haven’t heard, the most up-to-date news regarding the possibility of a post-kyoto agreement in Copenhagen is grim but expected. Today, Stephen Harper, Barack Obama and other leaders from Europe and Asia came to an agreement that negotiations at  COP15 will not result in a global climate change treaty. Below are a few statements in the media that particularly caught my attention.

“next month’s international climate change meetings will be a way station — not the end point”

  • This leads me to ask the question “what is holding the world back from making a post-kyoto agreement?” If the answer is a valid argument I’m glad to not rush into a poor agreement with targets that aren’t aggressive enough. However, if the answer is nothing but a way to defer taking responsibility for our actions then this is not acceptable.

“On Saturday, Prime Minister Stephen Harper … said that full global participation in cutting greenhouse gases is necessary to tackle global warming.”

  • So Stephen Harper, why exactly are you not personally participating in COP15?

“If we don’t control those [emerging economies], whatever we do in the developed world will have no impact on climate change,” Harper said.”

  • The developed world won’t have an impact unless we start actually doing something. Let’s lead by example.

“Flannery told The Canadian Press that Canada faces an international credibility crisis because it is “by far the biggest defaulter” on previous Kyoto Protocol obligations.”

  • I know I’m not the only Canadian embarrassed to have this reputation. Canada has the opportunity to redeem itself by furthering negotiations in Copenhagen. As a Nation, let’s help Stephen Harper realise this opportunity.

Check out the entire story at http://www.cbc.ca/world/story/2009/11/14/apec-summit.html.