Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Canada's Conservative Government Opposes Kyoto and Hampers Progress at COP16

On Friday December 3, 2010, United Nations climate head Christiana Figueres told a news conference that Canada was opposed to extending the Kyoto agreement. As a result of their position, Harper's ruling Conservative government is holding back negotiations at COP16, the climate change conference in Cancun, Mexico.

Canada has joined Russia and Japan in opposing the extension of the Kyoto Protocol beyond 2012. The refusal of these three nations to extend their binding emissions targets will hamper progress on other issues.

The Liberal opposition's efforts to move forward on green have been consistently rejected by Harper's Conservatives. Stephane Dion, the former leader of the Liberal Party of Canada, unveiled a policy called The Green Shift in June 2008. The project proposed an ecotax on carbon while reducing personal and corporate income taxes. The plan was immediately criticized by Prime Minister Harper.

Liberal environment critic Gerard Kennedy, called the Conservative's recent move to block Kyoto “unacceptable.” He indicated that Canada should be helping to set the agenda, and that it “doesn’t make any sense at all that we should be latecomers to define what happens.”

Canada's Conservative government is at odds with Canadians on climate change. Opposition to Kyoto is but the latest example of the Harper government's refusal to address environmental issues. Not only is a green market opportunity being missed by Canada, the country is impeding global progress on the issue of climate change. Canada has experienced its warmest year ever in 2010, but the Harper government does not appear to feel the heat.

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