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Council of Canadians organizer headed to Lima for climate talks

Aleah Loney

Edmonton-based Council of Canadians organizer Aleah Loney.

Edmonton-based Council of Canadians organizer Aleah Loney is on her way today to the United Nations climate summit in Lima, Peru as part of the Canadian Youth Climate Coalition delegation. She will be blogging for us on what takes place at this summit.

The Lima summit could be crucial. BusinessGreen.com has reported, “With all eyes on Paris in 2015, United Nations climate change chief Christiana Figueres has marked 2014 as a crucial year during which countries will be required to work out exactly how ambitious they are prepared to be in any 2015 deal… ‘[The intent is to have] a first draft of the 2015 agreement available to them for discussion and review in Lima,’ she said.” The New York Times editorial board has commented, “If the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s most recent report is to be taken seriously, as it should be, the Paris meeting [that follows Lima] may well be the world’s last, best chance to get a grip on a problem that, absent urgent action over the next decade, could spin out of control.”

The Council of Canadians was also present for the climate talks in Copenhagen in 2009 and Cancun in 2010.

At those summits, we called on the Harper government to commit to an emissions reduction target of at least 40 per cent below 1990 levels by 2020. The 40 per cent emissions reduction target is in keeping with the call for atmospheric carbon to be stabilized at 350 parts per million. We have said that water justice requires climate justice. We have also stated that Canada’s fair contribution to climate adaptation for the Global South should be $4 billion yearly. And we have argued for inclusion and a democratization of the climate change negotiations process.

But the Harper government has quietly admitted that Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions will continue to rise sharply after 2020 if the emissions from the oil and gas sector are not constrained. The Globe and Mail has reported, “Without the climate regulations, the government forecasts that emissions from the oil and gas sector will soar by 23 per cent between 2005 and 2020, and by 48 per cent by 2030, swamping progress in other sectors. Fueled by oil sands growth, Alberta’s emissions are projected to increase by 40 per cent between 2005 and 2030…”

And regrettably, the Daily Mail has reported, “Australia and Canada have invited the UK to join an alliance of ‘like-minded’ nations to limit action on climate change. The two countries have each rolled back green policies in recent months, and want others to join them to resist a legally-binding international deal on carbon emissions. …[Australian prime minister Tony Abbott] said efforts are underway to form a new ‘centre-right’ alliance including Britain, as well as India and New Zealand.” This is a dynamic we are likely to see in Lima.

Please watch for Loney’s blogs from Lima here.

Further reading
Canadian Youth Delegation Open Letter to Government in advance of the Lima summit (signed by numerous groups, including the Council of Canadians)