Fossil of the Day: Canada takes a commanding lead


Canada has taken a commanding lead here in Durban in the Fossil of the Day awards. The award is given daily at the climate change negotiations for the country doing its best to impede, stall or otherwise oppose progress in climate negotiations. The award is judged by 700+ member organizations of Climate Action Network.

In the past three days, Canada has earned itself two first place and two second place medals, including an impressive sweep on Day 1 in Durban. (The U.S. and Poland deserve honorable mention for their first place medals.) Canada looks on track to earn a 5th consecutive Fossil of the Year.

How did Canada manage such a run? Well, on Monday Canada said it will not entertain a second commitment period for Kyoto. In fact, reports suggest that Canada will take its ball and go home, by formally withdrawing from Kyoto. (If it does, it would be the first such withdrawal.) The official government news agency of China, Xinhua, reprimanded Canada for setting a “bad example.”

Also Monday, Canada insulted all developing countries with this assertion from Canadian Environmental Minister Peter Kent:

Emerging and developing countries need to stop “wielding the historical guilty card” and asking for a free pass on emissions reductions just because in the past, industrialized countries had more emissions than the rest of the world.

Yes, after a few hundred years of emissions by developed countries, apparently Canada feels that it is time for developing countries to pay the price.

And here is Mr.Kent on Tuesday, for the gold:

There is an urgency to this. We don’t need a binding convention, what we need is action and a mandate to work on an eventual binding convention.

Does anyone else object to the use of the words urgency and eventual in the same thought?

On Wednesday, Mr. Kent was back on his crusade to make poor, developing countries on the front lines of climate impacts pay for the mistakes of Canada:

There is a fairly widely held perception in the developing world of the need for guilt payment to be built into any international deal on climate.

Mr. Kent’s view stands in direct opposition to the principle of “Common But Differentiated Responsibilities,” upon which Kyoto was constructed. The idea is simple: those who have contributed the most to the problem should contribute the most to the solution. By that measure, Mr. Kent has some work to do.

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