Slick Uniforms to Suit Canada’s Oily Negotiating Style

Full press release available here.

By Cameron Fenton

And we’re off…again.

The 17th round of United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change talks started up today in Durban where even the most optimistic predictions are pretty dismal.
Around the globe, skepticism over the potential for the creation of a global climate accord that would ensure and enforce international action has become pervasive after the failure of the 2009 talks in Copenhagen. But progress has not simply stalled, its has been bound, gagged and lashed to the ground by the influence of the fossil fuel industry and the actions of governments like Canada who negotiate on behalf of it.

Today the Canadian Youth Delegation launched a new set of uniforms for our nation’s negotiating team in Durban. Emblazoned with corporate logos from Canada’s oil patch the uniforms show exactly how Canada is putting polluters ahead of people and standing in the way of global action to prevent runaway climate change.

But it hasn’t always been this way. As recently as 2005 Canada was internationally celebrated for forging a pathway towards a global deal at the United Nations climate talks in Montreal. Since 2006, when the Government of Canada pulled millions of dollars in support from the Nairobi round of climate talks, has positioned itself as one of the most obstructive forces when it comes to global action on climate change. They currently stand alone as the only nation to weaken its international commitments after the Copenhagen conference, the only nation to renounce its commitments under the Kyoto Protocol, and now the first nation to take an absolutist stance against a second
round of Kyoto commitments.

So why are they doing this? The main reason is a massive scar in the Earth up in
Northern Alberta that can be seen from space. With the potential to line the pockets of Canada’s oil barons, the Athabasca tar sands have become Canada’s crown jewel at these climate talks, to be protected at any cost. The costs are steep; immense and highly polluting water use, the consumption of millions of cubic meters of natural gas, the poisoning of downstream communities, and a climate forcing potential that NASA scientist James Hansen says would mean “game over” for the global climate. Our leaders have decided to protect the short term gains of our fossil fuel driven economy in lieu of ensuring my generation, and those that will follow, a just and sustainable future.

In short, Canada has decided to put polluters ahead of people.

In the last year alone, Canada has been outed internationally for its efforts lobbying on behalf of the oil patch. In Europe the government has joined with oil companies to try and submarine the European Union’s Fuel Quality Directive, a step towards reducing emissions from Europe’s transportation sector. At the same time our government has dispatched agents to try and force the Keystone XL into the United States, despite the massive upswell of resistance all along the pipeline route, and across the United States.

The impacts of climate change, and the extractive industries that are driving it’s expansion are threatening the lives and livelihoods of people here and now. Canada faces a choice. Will it continue to labour in defense of an industry driving one of the greatest crises of our generation while the world leaves us behind? Or will we make the shift to a just, sustainable and green economy that puts the needs of all people ahead of the wants of a few major polluters?

At the global table, youth from across Canada are tired of watching our government play the role of the unwanted dinner guest. We’re not willing to simply sit at the kids table and watch them mortgage our future to protect the fossil fuel regime. Canada needs an oil change, and if our government wont do it, you bet we will.

3 Responses to “Slick Uniforms to Suit Canada’s Oily Negotiating Style”
  1. julie says:

    Our Clean-Up Crew found a Bitumens wearing Oil Lobbyist and severe oil contamination at the Dept. of Foreign Affairs (DFAIT) in Ottawa on Thurs Dec. 1st. It took a Giant Mop to clean up the toxic oil mess and deal with Greenwashing…

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  1. […] Slick Uniforms to Suit Canada’s Oily Negotiating Style Today the Canadian Youth Delegation launched a new set of uniforms for our nation’s negotiating team in Durban. Emblazoned with corporate logos from Canada’s oil patch the uniforms show exactly how Canada is putting polluters ahead of people and standing in the way of global action to prevent runaway climate change. 27 November Kent takes tough tone on Durban talks (CBC) In a lengthy interview in Ottawa with The Canadian Press before heading off to negotiations in Durban, South Africa, Kent said Canada deserves recognition for promoting “responsible” industrial development and for pushing for a global climate change pact that would draw in all the major polluters. 24 November EU Climate Chief on UN Summit: ‘Whatever We Pledge Should Be Equally Binding’ With UN climate talks starting next week in Durban, South Africa, hopes remain for new momentum in the drive to reduce CO2 emissions. In an interview with SPIEGEL ONLINE, EU Climate Commissioner Connie Hedegaard reveals Europe’s strategy. Divisions between rich and poor countries must end, she says. 23 November ‘Climategate’ erupts again ahead of Durban conference A fresh batch of stolen emails about climate change, written by scientists from the University of East Anglia, United Kingdom, has been released — days before global climate change negotiations begin in Durban, South Africa. Climate scientists said that the release was likely to have been timed to “torpedo” any potential progress at the UN Climate Change Conference (COP 17) next week (28 November–9 December), according to the New York Times. Greenhouse gas emissions reach record highs, UN says The UN World Meteorological Organization reported today that concentrations of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere are growing and reached a record level last year. “The atmospheric burden of greenhouse gases due to human activities has yet again reached record levels since pre-industrial time,” WMO Secretary-General Michel Jarraud said in a statement. The Hill/E2 Wire blog (11/21), Bloomberg (11/21) 20 November Amara Possian is blogging from Durban for The Mark Canada’s obstructive approach to the negotiation of new emission-reduction targets has many international observers baffled. Climate treaty hopes are pushed back to 2016 The world’s richest countries have effectively thrown in the towel on signing a new climate treaty in 2012, according to negotiators, who say an agreement could possibly be reached in 2016 but only if it only came into force in 2020. The delay is expected to dominate discussion at the next round of UN climate talks scheduled to begin next week in Durban, South Africa. The Guardian (London) (11/20) 18 November IPCC: Climate impact risk set to increase (BBC) The risk from extreme weather events is likely to increase if the world continues to warm, say scientists. A report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change said it was “very likely” that emissions had led to an increase in daily maximum temperatures. It added that emissions had also led some regions experiencing longer and more intense droughts. The findings of the Special Report were presented at the IPCC’s 34th Session, which is being held in Kampala, Uganda. 17 November Analysis: China Climate Role Could Be To Corner U.S. (Reuters|Planet Ark) China, the world’s biggest carbon emitter, could nudge the United States into more action on climate change, rescuing the latest round of global talks and improving its international reputation. Expectations remain extremely low that a new global deal can emerge from a summit later this month in Durban, South Africa. But it could lay the foundations for a future deal and desperate negotiators are looking to China to help isolate the United States in its stubborn climate change denial, even if it is only for reasons of enlightened self-interest. “My sense is that if Durban fails it would be due to the lack of U.S. political will to deliver and if it succeeds it would be due to China’s extra efforts,” said Jennifer Morgan, director of the climate and energy program at environmental thinktank the World Resources Institute. Pan-African climate caravan delivers pre-Durban message Some 300 African climate activists — among them farmers, environmental scientists and youth leaders — are traveling through 10 countries as part of a Caravan of Hope to draw attention to upcoming UN climate talks in Durban, South Africa. Caravan leaders are seeking commitments from rich countries to cut carbon emissions significantly, as well as financing to help poor countries develop in an environmentally sustainable manner. The Guardian (London)/Poverty Matters blog (11/16) 26 October Chinese Scientists Warn of Significant Glacier Melt (Spiegel Online) Glaciers are shrinking worldwide — some of them rapidly. Now Chinese researchers have sounded the alarm in their country too, where they say warmer weather and increased precipitation are reducing the size of glaciers. Water shortages and floods could result. 27 September South Africa: In Need of a Unified Climate Change Policy JOHANNESBURG (IPS) – The implementation of a unified climate change policy across all of South Africa’s government departments will not be easy as the divisions currently work largely as separate entities, says Greenpeace Africa. The South African government announced on Sep. 13 that it would beef up its climate policy “to ensure that all government departments responded well to the issue of climate change.” South Africa will host the 17th United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in Durban from Nov. 28 to Dec. 9, which aims to discuss a legally binding climate deal. South Africa is signatory to the Kyoto Protocol, the world’s only international treaty that mandates most industrialised nations to cut greenhouse gases to save the planet from overheating, but is yet to formulate an integrated climate change policy. […]

  2. […] the Canadian Youth Delegation as a team has done a lot of work. We’ve launched negotiators suits, sent an apology letter to the South African people on behalf of the Canadian government, bought […]

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