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On the First Day of International Climate Negotiations, We Take Local Action for Climate Justice

Photo taken courtesy of members of the Unis’tot’en camp who are saying NO to all pipelines in their territories.

Today is the first day of the UN Climate Negotiations in Doha, Qatar; and while Canada may have once had a productive role in these negotiations, the Harper government has consistently failed to attend these conferences and “negotiate” in good faith. In fact, the Conservatives are better known for undermining any attempts at creating a just climate deal and receive numerous Fossil of the Day awards which are given to the countries who are receiving the biggest #fail at these negotiations. They often even leave the entire negotiations with the Fossil of the Year awards for having received the most Fossil of the Day awards.

Given the disappointing role of Canada at these negotiations, Council of Canadians is looking at supporting community power that is actively fighting Harper’s agenda of unregulated resource exploitation for corporate profit.

We are supporting is the Unis’tot’en clan’s call to resist the Pacific Trails Pipeline, a pipeline which would transport fracked gas from northeastern BC to the Pacific Coast. This pipeline would blaze a trail for further pipeline development by logging and creating infrastructure for other proposals such as the Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipeline, Kinder Morgan’s alternative northern route for their Trans Mountain pipeline, Spectra Energy, and others. Members of the Wet’suwet’en First Nation have said “NO” to all pipelines and in the past week members of both the Unis’tot’en and Gidimt’en clans have had to evict pipeline surveyors contracted out by Apache Corporation.

Photo credit: Ben Powless

We are also supporting members of Fort Nelson First Nation who are opposing fracking industrial projects, that is, opposing gas before it even gets into the pipeline. FNFN members are worried about the impacts that fracking can have on local water supplies and community health. FNFN is in northeastern BC, the heart of fracking country where a dirty gas is extracted and the vast majority of it is shipped to Alberta to fuel the extraction of dirty oil. Essentially, BC’s climate bomb goes to fuel Alberta’s climate bomb. Ben Parfitt of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives notes that BC’s gas extraction could double industrial greenhouse gas emissions by 2020, putting great strain on all other industries to reduce their GHG emissions in order to meet BC’s climate reduction goals.

We have also been supporting the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation as they file a constitutional challenge against Shell’s proposed Jackpine Mine Expansion. Today the Alberta Court dismissed their application to appeal a decision made by the Joint Review Panel (JRP) in late October. The JRP decided to not review their Constitutional Challenge which voiced their concerns that the Crown had not adequately consulted with the community prior to approving the Shell mine expansion.

As stories like these continue to be shared, it is clear that Canada and Harper have no role in international climate negotiations. They continue to subsidize the fossil fuel industry, and are doing nothing to slow down the industrial expansion. In doing so, Canada will do little to curb its greenhouse gas emissions and take responsibility for contributing to runaway climate change which is impacting coastal communities, farming communities, northern communities, and a community near you.

Council of Canadians recognizes that we cannot depend on the Harper government for taking responsibility for mitigating runaway climate change. In Copenhagen, we knew that the real power was in the streets. For information about our work in Cancun, check out this site where we have interviews from the Via Campesina march and events from the parallel climate forum.

We will continue to promote real solutions to the climate crisis such as keeping fossil fuels in the ground, while rejecting false solutions are carbon markets that do not address ‘business as usual’ and the contributions it has made to creating the climate crisis in the first place. We will be paying attention to the Canadian Youth Delegation to Doha who are at the negotiations holding the Canadian government accountable and who have been doing great work to highlight Canada’s awful role at these negotiations over the past years.

While working in solidarity with communities nearby to fight environmentally destructive projects and projects that contribute to climate pollution, we send our thoughts to the many communities who are deeply impacted by climate change. We hope that these international negotiations can bring together activists and communities who can work together in solidarity against the polluting industries. We know that we all have a role in building a sustainable movement for climate justice.