Thursday, August 16, 2012

Merkel and Harper: Two Opposing Visions of the Future

German Chancellor Angela Merkel's official state visit with Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper highlights the stark contrast between the two heads of state. The have vastly different views on the environment and are leading their respective countries in diametrically opposed energy directions. Germany is a country that has invested heavily in renewable sources of energy while the Canadian government under Conservative leader Stephen Harper, has gutted environmental funding and invested in the tar sands, arguably the world's dirtiest oil project.

Merkel has been a champion of GHG reduction since the mid-1990s, when she was Germany's environment minister. At that time she brought together world leaders to try to limit GHGs. She was instrumental in getting everyone on board the Berlin Mandate of 1995, an agreement that eventually lead to the signing of the Kyoto Protocol two years later.

The Kyoto protocol is but one illustration of the Harper government's contempt for the environment. They have also worked to undermine global COP negotiations in Durban in 2011, they passed Bill C-38 which essentially emasculated the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act and deprived scientists of funding.

Merkel plans to attend a meeting on climate science in Halifax, while Harper will be predictably absent.

© 2012, Richard Matthews. All rights reserved.

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