Searching for Canada’s climate change action plan
I stood in a giant COP 17 plenary hall, squinting through my binoculars. I wore khaki from head to heel, dressed like someone on safari in search of a rare leopard or honey-badger, but what I was looking for was far more elusive than the rarest African beast. I was looking for Canada’s plan to fight climate change.
Few people have spent more time searching for Canada’s climate change action plan than the CYD’s Daniel T’Seleie, whose experience dates back to Copenhagen. “The likelihood that Canada has a plan to effectively tackle climate change is on par with the likelihood that the Sasquatch exists,” T’Seleie said. This however is an understatement, because there is significantly more evidence attesting to the existence of the Sasquatch: in 2010 alone there were three reports of Sasquatches recorded on the Geographical Database of Bigfoot/Sasquatch Sightings. There isn’t even a fuzzy video or a half remembered vision to create the allusion of the existence of a Canadian climate change action plan.
As I searched through wastepaper baskets and underneath computer keyboards for Canada’s climate change action plan I realized I was looking for the wrong thing. Canada does not have a plan to slow climate change or reduce emissions from the Tar Sands, but that doesn’t mean Canada doesn’t have a plan. The reverberations from Canada’s plan are everywhere. Negotiators, delegates and journalists from the Global South and youth from across the world have talked about Canada’s real climate change policy: a mandate to negotiate on behalf of the Tar Sands and monkey-wrench international progress on climate change.
Canada’s abysmal record on climate change goes beyond its lack of willingness to reduce carbon emissions – the Canadian Government has been aggressively attempting to block other countries from action on climate change. Canada is expected to formally reject the Kyoto protocol and is pressuring other countries to do the same. Canada is one of the countries that have used the Green Climate Fund as bargaining leverage, threatening to cut climate financing to developing countries that speak up in favour of strong climate policies. Canada is determined to do anything that it takes to protect the Tar Sands, even if it means derailing international climate talks and dramatically increasing the probability of runaway climate change.
I didn’t need binoculars or a magnifying glass to find Canada’s climate change strategy. All I needed was to hear the voices of those most impacted by Canada’s obstructionist stance ― citizens from around the world who are demanding that Canada put people before polluters.