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NEWS: G20 may talk climate change in relation to the economy

The CBC reports today that, “Prime Minister Stephen Harper has stopped short of including climate change on the agenda for the G20 summit, but says leaders may discuss it as an issue related to the economy.”

“As opposition leaders cited an appeal by six Nobel Peace Prize laureates for Harper to include climate change on the G20 agenda, the prime minister replied the government’s position has been clear that the G20 is the main forum for global economic issues. But, he added, those attending can ‘discuss other things’ that are related to the economy, such as climate change.”

“Bloc Québécois Leader Gilles Duceppe questioned why Harper or Environment Minister Jim Prentice have not submitted an official proposal on climate change for the G20. NDP Leader Jack Layton said that while Harper ‘pretends’ to add climate change to the G20 agenda, he should do more through cutting subsidies to oil companies.”

“In response, Harper said the G20 would continue the established practice of assisting the United Nations in its efforts to address climate change, instead of replacing it.”


Given that only two of the G20 countries are on track to meet their Kyoto Accord obligations, and G20 countries are responsible for 70-80 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions, how can anyone claim that the G20 is assisting the UN in its efforts to address climate change?

Or one might ask how Mr. Harper assisted UN efforts at the climate summit in Copenhagen? You know, that’s the one he wasn’t going to attend at first, then only showed up reluctantly. Can we expect to see more from him at the next climate summit in Cancun?

Or how do we square this with the recent statements of a clearly frustrated UN Secretary-General? During his visit to Ottawa on May 12, Ban Ki-moon said, “I’m going to discuss with Prime Minister Harper, as leader of the G8, and as chair of the G20 this year, and as one of the most developed countries in the world. Canada has a special role and special responsibility to play (to address climate change).”


How did we get to this point?

In January, the Canadian Press reported that, “Environment Minister Jim Prentice says he’s feeling international pressure to put climate change high on the agenda at the G20 and G8 summits this summer. And while he’s not exactly a champion of the idea quite yet, he’s not saying No either.”

By May, Embassy Magazine reported that, “The Conservative government’s decision not to host an environment ministers’ meeting ahead of the G8 summit in June has infuriated critics and environmental groups, who say Canada broke with tradition and missed a good opportunity to show a commitment to battle climate change.”

Then on June 5, the Canadian Press reported on the leaked draft of the G8 summit communiqué and noted, “On the environment, the only thing G8 negotiators have apparently agreed to is that fighting climate change shouldn’t hurt countries’ economies — a position the Harper government has been pushing.”


With a billion dollar-plus price tag, infringements of basic civil liberties, massive disruptions for those who live in Toronto, and a ‘business as usual’ agenda that serves neither people nor the planet, the Council of Canadians is calling on Prime Minister Stephen Harper to scrap the upcoming G8 and G20 summits. The place for national leaders to meet is not in behind barbed wire fences in small groups of eight or twenty, but rather in the General Assembly at the United Nations. That’s what the United Nations was created for, and it has the buildings, infrastructure and appropriate security in place for gatherings of world leaders.

The CBC article is at http://www.cbc.ca/politics/story/2010/06/10/g20-summit-climate-change.html#ixzz0qXhvLnq4.