Hello from Poland and COP19

This week I am in Warsaw, Poland, for what is called the “High Level Segment” of the 19th Conference of the Parties (COP19) under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. You can get up-to-date information on all of the events happening at COP 19 by going to greenparty.ca/cop19.

COP19The Harper administration continues its outrageous practice of sending delegations to international meetings, not representing Canada, but representing the governing party. As far as I know, other than Environment Minister Leona Aglukkaq, I am the only Canadian Parliamentarian attending. I am here with my way paid by the Green Party of Canada and I will receive my UN credentials through my membership in the Global Greens.

Expectations for progress at COP19 are low. These negotiations work up to a deadline. With the disaster that was Copenhagen in 2009, the new deadline is COP21, to take place in Paris in 2015. The COPs fill in the years to the deadline with mind-numbing work on pieces of a future treaty that will matter – but only matter when and if governments around the world are prepared to be serious about slashing GHG missions. And on that, we are moving in the wrong direction.

I will try to get a few words into a blog every day to keep you updated on the events at COP19. You can subscribe to those blog posts by going to greenparty.ca/cop19. If you haven’t already, please don’t forget to sign our petition to demand climate action from the Harper Conservatives. The science is clear and the scientists are worried. Humanity has already changed the chemistry of the atmosphere — heating up the atmosphere and even more so the oceans at the rate of four Hiroshima-sized bombs per second. We are running out of time to avoid the worst case scenarios of run-away global warming. Only a profound shift globally to make the transition away from fossil fuels a central priority of leaders will ensure our kids have a liveable world.

While the expectations for COP19 are low, it is nevertheless time to stop enabling politicians by allowing them to live up to our low expectations for them. We enable them by expecting them to be useless. It’s time to start demanding — through our votes, through our protests and marches and petitions and unrelenting pressure — that they make good on their promises.

That is why I am here in Poland — that is why I will be writing and observing and pushing for change every chance I get. That is why I need you.

Thank you for all of your support.

Elizabeth May, O.C., M.P.