Experts respond to outcome of UN climate talks in Doha

On Saturday, December 8th, 2012 in Blogs

While saddened and shamed by Canadian government performance in Doha, I am so proud of our hard-working environmental representatives, especially the Canadian youth. Here is their summary press release on the outcome.

- Elizabeth

Experts respond to outcome of UN climate talks in Doha

Rich countries brought little to the table to fulfill their promises in Doha

(Doha, Qatar) This year’s UN climate talks wrapped up after many hours of dramatic overtime with little to speak of in terms of progress on addressing the ambition gap or ensuring poor countries have adequate financial support they need to deal with climate impacts. The framework is in place to move towards a global deal in 2015, but unless countries take action at home and inject political will into these negotiations, that deal will remain elusive and we will continue on our current pathway to 4 degrees or more of global warming.

The controversy that erupted towards the end of the session was a powerful message from poorer countries that their demands for ambitious action are only going to grow as they get hit harder and harder by a changing climate that they did next to nothing to contribute to.

Climate Action Network Canada members responded to the outcome as follows:

“I would like to know how our leaders from countries like ours can be so indifferent to the looming reality of a world 4 degrees warmer than today. The science is clear, the solutions exist, the economy is thirsty for it, and the impacts of inaction are increasingly devastating – so where is the political will and leadership? Leaders let the world down again this year by coming to the table largely empty-handed on meaningful ways to close the growing gap between where they are and where they have promised to be to avoid 2 degrees of global warming. The Canadian Government was determined to lead the race to the bottom on the central issue of finance, insisting on holding out for at least 3 more years until they contribute to the Green Climate Fund. In Doha the critical path we need to be on is still alive in this process, but it needs leadership and political will to move forward and that is clearly missing here.”

- Hannah McKinnon, Campaigns Director, Climate Action Network Canada

“Bopha, Sandy, floods in Pakistan, droughts in China… How many reports from the likes of the World Bank, NASA and the International Energy Agency will it take? How many preventable catastrophes until our leaders realize that climate change will not be solved by nice speeches and empty promises? Countries like Canada and the U.S. have promised to reduce their greenhouse gas pollution and provide adequate financial support for developing countries, they have so far failed on both counts.”

- Steven Guilbeault, Deputy Director, Equiterre

“The package we got today in Doha won’t keep us on a secure pathway to prevent warming of more than two degrees. We have a very vague process that might lead to increased ambition but only if political will shifts. In recent years we have seen a serious lack of political will from countries like the US and Canada who have continually blocked the process. This crisis was created by wealthy big polluters like Canada and the U.S., and they need to step up and show leadership in solving it. Governments must stop working for the polluters, and start working for the people. In order to do this, Canada must stop reckless tar sands expansion and pipelines projects.”

- Patrick Bonin, Climate and Energy Campaigner, Greenpeace Canada

“World leaders have failed in their commitments at COP18, Canada most of all. Canada’s lack of ambition and commitment with these negotiations is rooted in the unsustainable expansion of the tar sands and the influence of dirty energy, dirty money and dirty politics. In spite of the cries of youth from around the world we are far behind keeping temperatures within the 2 °C limit. This will have serious implications in the most vulnerable parts of the world, where the people who are the least responsible for creating this crisis are experiencing, and will continue to experience, this devastating climate legacy.In terms of finance, Hurricane Sandy alone is set to cost $60 billion, the same amount being asked for in climate finance in Doha. If one storm costs that, its clearly nowhere near enough for the whole world.”

-Perla Hernandez, Canadian Youth Delegation, COP18

“Despite demands from civil society both within and outside of the country for responsible action, the federal government had outraged us again both nationally and internationally by continuing to defend business as usual, and by blocking ambitious achievements at the global scale. We demand that the Canadian government put an end to this inaction and join provincial and local governments in taking a strong stand against locking us into infrastructure that fuels our dangerous addiction to tar sands and shale gas.”

- Aida Ahmadi, Climate and Energy Campaigner, AQLPA

“As the conference ends, I am very concerned about rules of conduct tightening for civil society participation. With more and more restrictions, the contribution to the process by environmental groups, and especially the youth, is seriously compromised.”

- Catherine Gauthier, ENvironnement JEUnesse Ambassador


For further media inquiries:

Christian Holz

Hannah McKinnon

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  • Sharon Danley

    Thank you so much Elizabeth for keeping us informed and for the work you do. I am sooo ashamed of the Harper government and their steadfast resistance to take responsibility for Canada’s part in contributing to climate change.

  • Terence Stone

    Thank you, Elizabeth. It can’t be easy constantly reporting lousy outcomes to your constituents and the public at large; but you do it anyway, along with those voices of conscience that will not be silenced. The work of construction must continue, even while the voices of destruction seem to prevail.

  • Peter Kendrick French

    just wondering what any of you know about CHEMTRAILS, this is an issue that at the very least needs your attention and I believe ties in with many of the aspects of climate change. Chemtrails are not to be confused with contrails, please go online and do a little research. See also geo-engineering.

    • Daniel Ross

      Chemtrails are a bogus conspiracy theory. If you believe otherwise, you should collect samples and have them analysed. You might be able to get help from groups who would care about the effects of these chemicals (Which chemicals, exactly?): Greenpeace, Doctors without Borders, your personal doctor, health / environmental agencies of countries under the paths of air traffic, etc.

      Think about it for a minute: Those vapour trails cross borders and eventually get blown all around the world. Do you really think that all countries would agree to let one country use chemical weapons across the whole planet? Any country with an old fighter jet could take samples of the trails, and capture or kill the big, slow airliners that make them. Ironically, the fighter jet would make its own contrail in the process :)

      There are a lot of harmful human-made chemicals being released into the air, but you guys need to stop fixating on the highly visible condensation trails and start looking at the industries that produce and release toxins legally. Concentrated artificial fertilizers, pesticides, and tailings ponds, these are the things we need to worry about.

      It is frustrating that people who care about the world are wasting their energies on implausible theoretical problems when there are so many real problems to deal with. I mean you no disrespect.

  • Sabrina chamberlain-parks

    I recently wrote this to our PM…I have written to him and MP’s before without response…

    Dear Mr. Harper,

    I come from a generation that gives respect to figures of authority when it is earned. You and you practices under rule of MY country have not earned it! I am writing to you pertaining to your recent descisions to sell off canadian oil to foreign countries. This was a terrible descision on your part. Personally, I cannot wait until the next election when Conservatives will be voted out of power! You sir are a waste of space and taxpayers money in cabinet. I only hope that your admin assistant has the nerve to forward this email to you personally as it is not just my voice but millions of other Canadians voices simutaneously resinating through my words! I know that you have roots in Alberta…much like the Bush’s had routes in their oil foundations. I have friends that work in government environmental positions that are being squashed and trashed by recent budgets. You will be dead when our air is deemed unfit…I don’t even trust a government under a conserative majority when they say it is fit now. Really just who do you think you are fooling, you must be dellusional, especially when it comes to underestimating the knowledge that any one person can attain these days!

    Please take pity on your fellow Canadians when they believe that the environment is more precious than their economy!

    Your fellow Canadian and Mother of a 6 and 2 year old,

    Sabrina Chamberlain-Parks
    714 Vermilyea Road
    Belleville, On
    K8P 4Z5

  • David Wilson

    yes, thanks Elizabeth, I didn’t (sorry to say it) know what to expect in the way of an opinion on it from you here, the best I have seen is a political cartoon from tOad at Le Monde who calls it a fiasco, a flop, so I am glad to see something like the truth here and particularly from Hannah McKinnon, I also thought Kumi Naidoo got it right when he said, “… remind ourselves that the science actually said that we have to get emissions to peak in 2015 …”

    the image of Christiana Figueres with a silly grin waving bits of paper over her head (pic available at IISD) chokes me, but it also tells me clearly that the UNFCCC ‘process’ will never get us there, as the representative from Nauru said it is just “process for the sake of process” (and the per diems of the countless ‘negotiators’)

    so … I very sincerely wish that you (or someone, anyone!) would call for a program of civil disobedience that would at least let us look our granchildren in the eye

    be well, David Wilson.

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