Green Party Leader Elizabeth May to attend UN climate negotiations in Poland

Elizabeth May, MP for Saanich-Gulf Islands and Leader of the Green Party of Canada, will be in Warsaw, Poland, from November 17 to 22, as the only Canadian Opposition Member of Parliament attending this year’s UN climate negotiations.

For the second year in a row, May had sought accreditation to attend the conference as part of the Canadian Government delegation, and received no reply. In Warsaw, the Green Party of Canada Leader will convene with other representatives from Green Parties around the world to push for more stringent emissions reduction targets.

Expectations were low for this 19th Conference of the Parties (COP19) of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, with much of the agenda to be taken up with routine discussion of carbon trading systems.

However, negotiations have already taken a dramatic turn, with the Philippines’ chief negotiator, Yeb Sano, announcing that he will be fasting for the duration of the conference in protest of a perceived lack of political will on the part developed nations to take meaningful action on climate change.

Seeing the incredible devastation from Typhoon Haiyan, Sano declared their emissions reduction targets to be “dangerously low”, and called on developed countries to implement policy reforms so as to avert future climate disasters.

“What my country is going through is madness,” said Sano. “Typhoons such as Haiyan and its impacts represent a sobering reminder to the international community that we cannot afford to procrastinate on climate action.”

Green Party Leader Elizabeth May, who will be fasting in solidarity with the leader of the Philippine delegation while at the conference, voiced her support for Sano, stating “Against all the diminished expectations set by the lethargic process, the death toll in the Philippines might just wake the fossil-addicted economic giants and spur them to action.”