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What real “leadership” on climate change looks like.

While Stephen Harper leads the world now in foot-dragging on hard targets for Greenhouse Gas emissions, newly victorious Kevin Rudd of Australia shows that he means business on the environmental front:

Australia’s new prime minister, Kevin Rudd, made climate change his top priority on Sunday, seeking advice on ratifying the Kyoto pact and telling Indonesia he will go to December’s UN climate summit in Bali…Rudd …planned talks with officials and advisers about administrative arrangements for ratification of Kyoto as soon as possible.

Meanwhile, while Harper claims that his position on aspirational targets and/or waiting until everyone gets onboard with hard caps is “the strong position” on climate change, other countries criticisms continue to point at it rather as a lone position, and one designed to do as little as possible with regards to this issue:

Several countries, including Britain, have argued that it is up to the developed countries to take the lead in order to get polluting countries such as China and India to eventually see the value in reducing greenhouse gases that are causing global warming…Officials from other Commonwealth countries also said Canada’s position is a recipe to do nothing because the developing countries are not going to step up to the plate.

While some Commonwealth countries were careful to avoid calling out Canada, Malaysia wasn’t one of those countries, calling Harper’s attitude “disappointing”.

In short, rather then this being a “strong position”, as Harper and Baird will claim, they have virtually isolated themselves in the world.

[email protected]:55PM: Darren is right. We as Canadians certainly shouldn’t be proud, as Harper claims. We should be downright ashamed of ourselves and ashamed of Harper and his Cons. for sullying Canada’s international name. The only countries who are “proud” of Canada’s position are Dubya in the White House for the foot-dragging display we just carried on, and the Chinese and Indians, for knowing that our take on things means nothing will get done and there will be less pressure on them to do any action of their own.


10 comments to What real “leadership” on climate change looks like.

  • ALW

    Okay, let me get this straight.
    Leadership means following everybody else?
    Leadership means worrying about what diplomats (always anonymous, of course) gossip to reporters about?
    Bwahaha! Good one, Scott!

  • wilson

    Oh oh. newly elected Aussie agrees with PMSH:

    ”….Mr Rudd also flatly contradicted his environment spokesman and said a Labor government would not ratify the new round of Kyoto plans unless developing nations signed binding agreements.
    "I have made absolutely clear that we would need to see clear-cut commitments from the major emitters from the developing world for us to become party to that agreement," he said…”,25197,22677281-601,00.html

  • Gayle

    ALW – what is wrong with some of the world’s largest emitters setting hard targets even if the US and China will not? How exactly has Harper moved things forward? Are you suggesting that the US and China would not even agree to aspirational targets if Canada set hard targets?

  • Manuel

    If you look at it from an objective point of view, harper simply showed just how little the commonwealth and the rest of the world really gives a crap about emissions, If they really wanted to put this stuff through they would have fought tooth and nail for it, Harper simply gave them the out they needed to say "uh yeah, about that climate crap, blame Canada……don’t blame me for not standing up for what I said I would"

  • anon

    Just when I think that Harper can’t possible embarrass us any more than he already has, he does.   I long for the days when Canada was considered a leader in human rights and justice, for the days when I was proud to be Canadian.  I simply cannot fathom what his supporters are thinking.

  • I think it’s fairly clear that Harper ‘agreeing’ to the hard caps in this case is only because he had no intention of signing the agreement with them included.  I’m sure there would have been another excuse for him to avoid signing the agreement if the Americans were willing to sign on… but since they didn’t and he won’t, it’s just another moot point as is saying he agrees with them.

  • Scott,

    It’s rare I delve into politics with all of my friends but out of frustration I changed my MSN to "Stephen Harper humiliated our country in front of the entire world. "

    Within seconds the first message I got was from a buddy who is going to school in Ottawa and was born and raised in the U.S,

    "welcome to my world for the past 7 years"

  • ALW

    Can someone please explain to me how "taking the lead" will provide any incentive whatsoever to China, India, and United States to undertake CO2 reductions themselves?  Are we supposed to combat the most pressing issue of our time with wishful thinking that leading by example will suffice?  Isn’t this just a tad risky?

    If the global community was serious about fighting climate change, they would not strike any deal until all the biggest culprits were locked in. Anything less is just a pretend solution.  Like it or not, the big boys must be included.  If developing countries "won’t step up to the plate", it’s more important that we pressure them to step up to the plate, not to just "move ahead" without them!

    Also, you can quibble over whether or not it’s a smart tactic to insist on including the Americans, but let’s not misrepresent Harper’s position here.  He’s clearly agreeing to hard targets; just not without the Americans. 

  • Prairie Kid

    Rudd talks a good game just like Dion and the Liberals talked a good game. Just wait until Australia actually has to make some hard decisions on the environment where they have to put their money where their mouth is . . . they’ll take the same approach as the Liberals under Dion’s watch. ALL TALK AND NO ACTION!

  • […] I liked Scott’s recent posts on Canada’s unfortunate position in the world with respect to Climate Change action: Leading from behind and What real leadership on climate change looks like. […]

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