“We are truly sorry for out government’s stance on climate change” – a Letter to South Africa and the World
Originally Published in the South African daily The Mercury
As COP17 kicks off today in Durban Canadians here at the summit in South Africa and back at home are profoundly sorry. We want to apologize in advance for our government and our negotiators who in the coming weeks will undoubtably stand in the way of progress, blocking any international agreement to combat climate change.
Despite the welcoming hospitality we have received by your country and city, and the steely resolve of people from around the world here to carve a real deal our government seems determined to rain on the world’s parade.
We recently learned that Canada has announced that it will be legally pulling out of the Kyoto Protocols, and officially taking a stand at the Durban Summit that will protect Canada’s dirty energy industries.
For Canada protecting the biggest polluters is the top priority, ensuring the rapid expansion of Canada’s tar sands – one of the dirtiest, most destructive energy projects on the planet.
The tar sands have terrifying potential when it comes to climate change, promising what NASA climate scientist James Hanses said would be “game over for the climate” if there are allowed to continue as planned. This is on top of a laundry list of devastating impacts on local Indigenous communities, poisoning the air, water and land near the tar sands.
So to South Africa, and the world, we are sorry. Our government is putting polluters ahead of people around the globe, but we can’t give up hope. We are here with you to stand up to Canada and forge a path forward to build a just, sustainable future.