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Baird/Harper/Bush fails to block Bali agreement.

Well, despite the fact initially it looked like Canada and the US were going to get away with obstruction and blocking any deal on real cuts or set targets to Greenhouse Gases, the world got a deal at Bali – a watered down deal, but one nevertheless. The first part of the deal did remove mentioning specific GHG targets in order to get the USA on board, but a secondary part of this agreement – where 3rd world nations (not unreasonably) asked for better assurances that the developed world would help with providing “green technology” to them – nearly caused the entire conference to collapse. Only concerted and united world pressure caused the US to flip-flop on this:

When the tougher language was added to the agreement, the United States refused to accept the deal – sparking a wave of criticism from almost every other nation at the conference. Finally the U.S. flip-flopped and accepted the language, allowing the deal to go ahead….Conference delegates openly jeered the United States when it tried to oppose the promises sought by the developing nations. Then speaker after speaker demanded that the U.S. must not be allowed to kill the deal single-handedly.

The later part of the agreement is where Canada found itself to be the bad boy of the world:

After a failed attempt to block an agreement, Canada found itself isolated at the Bali conference Saturday and grudgingly accepted a new accord to set a target of 25 to 40 per cent for cuts in greenhouse-gas emissions by wealthy countries by the end of the next decade….The second agreement, later in the day, set targets for deep cuts in emissions – but it applied only to the 38 wealthy countries that have ratified the Kyoto accord, the 1997 agreement that set moderate targets for emission cuts by the wealthy nations. The United States has not ratified Kyoto, so it was not represented in negotiations on this agreement – although environmentalists said Canada was doing the bidding of the U.S. by opposing the deal.

The best part of all of this is, there’s no way Baird and Harper and the Cons. can frame this is as some great victory for Canada or showing how “really committed” they are to stopping GHG. Oh, they’ll try of course, but already we see indications that isn’t going to work. The Globe and Mail, the same Globe which has been deplorably supporting Harper and Baird’s stance on GHG, had this as a title , describing what happened:

Isolated Canada grudgingly accepts Bali deal.

So, the framing of this is being seen already as Canada, led by Harper and Baird, trying to block and/or obstructing an agreement and failing. To be sure, they did help the US in watering down the first part of the agreement, but the second part of the agreement involving Kyoto Protocol signers are set targets, and its plain for all to see that the Cons. current “Green Plan”, with its emphasis on intensity targets, will increase, not decrease GHG emissions. It won’t come nowhere close to those numbers, (many experts are already saying it won’t even come close to the modest targets to what the Conservatives are saying it will meet).

The Cons face a choice: they must either change their plan and impose mandatory caps, or if they refuse, Bali will get them eaten alive at the next election for a party or combination of parties willing to make the necessary deep cuts in GHG emissions. The Cons. and Harper and Baird sought to neutralize the Environment as an issue, and they failed miserably – much to the relief of the rest of the world (and to the world’s general environmental benefit).

[email protected]:45pm: I love Darren’s picture of Baird in his blogpost. I don’t doubt he had a similar look after he realized he had failed Harper’s bidding to block any Bali deals with tangible target cuts in GHG.

Update [email protected]:28 pm: Dave over at Galloping Beaver highlights from an observer the unprecedented booing and jeering of the American delegation that shamed it into agreeing to drop its opposition.


6 comments to Baird/Harper/Bush fails to block Bali agreement.

  • quaeitur

    OK, I’m still trying to get my head around this…the first part of the agreement doesn’t contain any hard targets for the non-Kyoto countries, but does include ‘green’ assistance for ‘developing’ nations from ‘developed’ ones.  So, that would mean that countries like Canada and the US, that have already said they can’t meet their own emission targets will be expected to assist in reducing emissions for ‘developing’ nations?

  • Mushroom:

    The Toronto Star in their editorial this morning does say Canada accepted (grudgingly) the 25-40% target for 2020 for those 38 countries who have already ratified Kyoto

  • mushroom

    Not sure if the 25 to 40 per cent target made it to the draft text of the Bali framework.
    It will be added in an addendum as there will be two more conferences, one in Poznan and Copenhagen.  There is nothing in the draft text calling for a 50 per cent reduction of greenhouse gases by 2050 which was agreed upon previously by both the G8 and APEC earlier this year.   

  • S.B. The part of the article prior to the quoted text reads from the Globe and Mail:

    This broader agreement nearly collapsed at the last minute today when India and China insisted on stronger promises by wealthy countries to help provide “green” technology to the developing nations.

    You can interpret that as China and India asking the developed world to better help developing nations with paying for green technology, with them as their advocates, or you can say it can be interpreted as they count themselves as "developing nations" and include themselves as asking for help as well. Either way, the result was the same.

    Quaeitur: – again, read the quoted text from the Globe article :

    The second agreement, later in the day, set targets for deep cuts in emissions – but it applied only to the 38 wealthy countries that have ratified the Kyoto accord, the 1997 agreement that set moderate targets for emission cuts by the wealthy nations.

    That is the 25 to 40% target in the next decade that Baird objected to, but when he found himself virtually alone, had to withdraw the objection – to the applause of the entire rest of the world delegations.

  • quaeitur

    It seems to me that the final agreement is just more of Baird’s ‘aspirational’ goals.  Where are the dates and hard targets?  What does "deep cuts in global emissions" really mean?  

    Agreement to help developing nations curb emissions is all well and good, but without dates and targets it seems rather meaningless to me.

    What really makes me crazy is Baird’s completely unbelievable claim that he’s ‘disappointed’ that there are no target dates and numbers, and that he was prepared to accept long-term targets.  HE rejected clear references to a goal for developed countries to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 25 to 45 per cent from 1990 levels by 2020, refused to meet with environmental groups at Bali, and skipped critical meetings.  So he now thinks he can return home as some kind of environmental hero!  He really believes that Canadians are that dumb?  

  • s.b.

    Scott, since you do post quite a bit on politics you should be aware of the meaning of certain terms and whether or not they are applicable.  China was the main concern of the US with regards to emmissions.  It was never a third world country.  It was a part of the Communist bloc, which was the second world.  These terms however have not existed as definitions since the fall of the soviet block in the early 1990’s.  China is still Communist, with free market provinces and I guess could losely be described as second world, but really its an emerging economy, or developing nation and actually at the top of that field.  The terms to classify countries now are developed, developing and under developed.   China and even India are really very close to being classified as developed with emmerging economies and certainly 3rd world was never correct. 

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