Dissonance in Durban - Day 2

John Streicker

We had a highlight as we registered for the UN negotiations this morning. Elizabeth got an official delegate badge. Not from Canada - she got it from Papua New Guinea! Mike De Souza a reporter form Canada.com was there and had a story on line within the hour. May registers for Durban summit through developing country after ...

It is unfortunate that Elizabeth, and elected Member of Parliament is not part of Canada’s official delegation. Still I was excited about the Papua New Guinea inclusion because now it means that Elizabeth has access to more of the negotiations. For those of you that don’t know it, Elizabeth has been actively involved in these negotiations since Rio when she had 1-year old Victoria Cate with her.

It is good for all of us that she got the official delegate status. 

From there we went straight into the Canadian Delegation briefing. Our delegation is led by Ambassador Guy Saint Jacques. Each day he briefs Canadian attendees who are not a part of the official negotiating team. 

The negotiations are complex and I will spare you the burden of all of the details. However, the Ambassador said one thing that I want to share. It is at the crux of what is going on here. 

Recall that the whole point of these meetings is to discuss what will come after Kyoto ends. Canada has announced that it will not take on a target during the next commitment period. Minister Kent confirmed this at yesterday’s press conference. 

There have also been rumours of Canada formally withdrawing from the Kyoto Protocol. For now these rumours remain unconfirmed, so let me leave that alone for now. 

So the Ambassador said no new targets and then went on to say that Canada was negotiating for a “new universal agreement with common but differentiated responsibilities” and that Canada wanted to achieve that “as fast as possible”. 

These two statements are so completely dissonant that I find it hard to comprehend how it is said with legitimacy. 

Not setting targets (especially for a developed nation like Canada) is exactly what leads to a non-universal non-binding agreement. By definition.

Elizabeth and I both asked questions about this position. After the briefing The government liaison let Elizabeth know that her stature might make it challenging for the other Canadian attendees to feel free in asking questions. 

Fair enough, although it was their choice not to have her on the official delegation. 

Yours, a north by northwest scientist / politician reporting from the south by southeast

John Streicker