David Jacobson, the US ambassador to Canada, has stated that he sees Canada and the United States having harmonized policies on energy and the environment.
And while Barack Obama retains a level of popularity among the majority of Canadians, it should be recognized that the United States is playing a very negative role with respect to addressing the climate crisis.
To read analysis by Jess Worth (who we met in Copenhagen) on the role of the US at the Copenhagen talks, please go to http://blog.newint.org/editors/2009/12/22/blood-on-the-summit-fl/.
The US is promising only a small fraction of the emissions reductions needed on its part (possibly a 6 percent cut from 1990 levels by 2020, as opposed to at least 40 percent), the climate financing it promised in Copenhagen has been critiqued as simply smoke-and-mirrors, and it is stating that it wants to minimize the role of the United Nations in upcoming climate talks and put that power in the hands of just a few powerful countries.
The Harper government’s priority to integrate our energy, environment and climate policies with those of the United States aligns our country with this agenda and must be challenged.
In a media release issued yesterday, Pablo Solon, the Bolivian ambassador to the United Nations, said, “The leaders of the world’s largest polluting nations have failed us. That is why Bolivia is organizing a Peoples’ Conference on Climate Change in April to put forward effective proposals for saving humanity from climate chaos. We invite all people committed to saving our planet to join us.”
The Council of Canadians is planning to send a delegation, including chairperson Maude Barlow, to this peoples’ conference in Bolivia.
This will be one way for us to work in solidarity with civil society around the world, to challenge the Harper government’s climate policies and its alignment with the United States, and to ensure our movement is even stronger at COP 16, the next climate summit on November 29 to December 10 in Mexico.
A STRONG CIVIL SOCIETY IS NEEDED
At 2:15 am on the last night of negotiations at the climate summit in Copenhagen, Solon came out of the Bella Centre to speak to the hundred protesters holding vigil near the main entrance.
Solon said, “For us, the most important thing here is that Copenhagen was a success. Not here. Outside (cheers). Because there has been a lot of awareness, a lot of conscience, and now we have to build a very big movement. Things are not going to change in the negotiation if we don’t have a strong social movement, a strong civil society mobilise in the street.”
A REFERENDUM IN APRIL FOR THE CLIMATE
He continued, “You know that the proposal of the Bolivian government – we want to organise a world-wide referendum in relation to climate change. And president Morales says lets think about the 22nd April – the international day of ‘Mother Earth’. We want to see if we can organise this officially in some countries and with social movements and civil societies and environmentalists in the rest of the world. Because if we are able to demonstrate, in an action like a referendum, that we can mobilise fifty, one hundred million persons voting and saying ‘this is the kind of agreement that we want’ then the situation can change.”
We will need to see what role we can play in supporting this referendum in Canada.
Solon concluded, “We have to put a lot of pressure here and I think what you have done was very great and, sometimes, you cannot win the first battle but we are going to win this war because it’s the only way we can save our own lives and our Mother Earth.”
More on the peoples’ conference in Bolivia at http://canadians.org/campaignblog/?p=2663.
To read Pablo Solon’s full speech, go to http://andybodycombe.blogspot.com/2009/12/bolivian-statement-outside-bella-centre.html.