Brazil warns Canada not “to do less” on climate
"Very bad news"
MIKE DE SOUZA
Another emerging economy, Brazil, has joined China in questioning the sincerity of the Canadian government’s anti-Kyoto Protocol musings at international climate change negotiations underway in Durban, South Africa.
Environment Minister Peter Kent has said the agreement, the only one in the world that requires countries to reduce heat-trapping greenhouse gases that cause global warming, is in “the past” while suggesting a full withdrawal from Kyoto is “an option” to pursue a more effective treaty.
The head of Brazil’s delegation told a news conference Thursday that he hasn’t heard exactly what Canada plans to do, but warned that the richer countries in the world should not use the Kyoto agreement as a smokescreen to avoid action to address global warming, share its technological expertise or provide financial aid to help solve the problem.
“It’s very clear that countries that leave the Kyoto Protocol . . . leave the Kyoto Protocol to do less than they would do in the Kyoto Protocol and we think this is very bad news,” said ambassador Andre Correa do Lago, when asked about Canada’s position. “We all know that in the [United Nations] convention [on climate change] and in the protocol, we have to have developed countries taking the lead.”
He also noted that Japan, which has joined Canada and Russia in publicly stating it would not take on new commitments under Kyoto following the end of its current commitment period in 2013, has made efforts to honour its existing commitments. Ottawa has repeatedly said it would not try to meet the targets, setting a new goal for 2020, without a plan to achieve its promised reductions.
The UN convention on climate change, which led to the Kyoto agreement, was signed in 1992 by the former Conservative government of Brian Mulroney who agreed with its founding principle that industrialized countries should make greater efforts than poorer countries to reduce emissions since they are responsible for most of the accumulated pollution already in the atmosphere.
In the House of Commons, Kent reiterated that Canada was working toward “a single international climate regime” that would include all major polluting countries, including China, the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in the world.
He has suggested the Kyoto agreement was a “blunder” because it failed to require large polluting countries like China and the U.S. to reduce their emissions and questioned whether Canada has a responsibility to help emerging economies reduce pollution and adapt to climate change.
Kent’s position drew a rebuke from China’s lead negotiator, who suggested the anti-Kyoto remarks put the entire process “in peril.”
China’s state-owned media agency published a commentary accusing Canada of setting a “bad example” at the talks, and prompting an “angry” response that united each delegation in their criticism of Canada.