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Canadian government must be at historic climate conference in Bolivia

The Council of Canadians has launched a new web page for the upcoming Climate Change Conference in Cochabamba hosted by the Bolivian government. The web page will feature regular posts including news updates, blogs, media releases (and more) from National Chairperson Maude Barlow and staff members Brent Patterson, Anil Naidoo and Andrea Harden-Donahue who are participating in the conference.

Cochabamba Climate Justice web page

Also today, the Council of Canadians sent Prime Minister Stephen Harper an open letter requesting a public response on whether the Canadian government plans to send a high-level delegation to the upcoming conference.

In less than two weeks time, government representatives from more than 50 countries including the majority of ‘Least Developed Countries’ whose populations will be most vulnerable to climate change, as well as France, Russia and Spain, will be joining representatives of social movements, organizations, academics and scientists at the conference.

The Bolivian government has invited governments worldwide, the Council of Canadians received documentation that the Canadian Ministry of Foreign Affairs was sent a formal invitation in early February. We are not aware of the Canadian government’s response to this important invitation, nor of its plans for engaging in conference proceedings.

The Canadian government should send a high-level delegation to this conference. Our government is on the wrong track with climate and energy policies. Ongoing expansion in the tar sands, failing to adequately fund renewable energy and energy efficiency programs, setting a target that will actually amount to an increase above 1990 emission levels by 2020, all flies in the face of the type of commitments being discussed in Cochabamba. This is why our government needs to be present, hear what is being said, and commit to radically changing course.

Conference aims include discussing a global referendum on climate change, a ‘rights-based’ approach to the climate crisis and agreeing on new commitments to be negotiated within the United Nations process. This includes demanding emission reduction targets in line with climate science. It includes greater responsibility on the part of developed countries that have disproportionately contributed to the crisis, creating ‘climate debt’ owed to the global South.

Read our open letter here

Read our press release here

Check out the official Conference website here