Durban climate talks open; report says Canada to abandon Kyoto Protocol
More bad news on the climate change front. As the latest international climate change conference gets underway today in Durban, South Africa, this article appeared in the Canadian Press reminding us of what we already know: under the Conservative government of PM Stephen Harper, Canada has become one of the world’s most obstructionist countries in efforts to develop a new international climate change agreement. Here’s an excerpt:
Canada, Japan and Russia announced last year they would not take on new emission reduction commitments for a second period, and Canadian television reported Monday that Ottawa would formally withdraw from the Kyoto protocol next month.
Yet this is not the worst of it. Perhaps following Canada’s lead, representatives of many rich nations are now privately admitting that there will be no new deal until at least 2020, an outcome that could prove disastrous. In the meantime, climate change will not wait for us to get our collective act together.
The International Energy Agency, hardly a climate change advocacy group, warned policy makers on the eve of the Durban Summit that the “door is closing” to avert catastrophic climate change. The agency’s annual flagship publication, World Energy Outlook, presents the most thorough analysis yet of world energy infrastructure.”Without a bold change of policy direction, the world will lock itself into an insecure, inefficient and high-carbon energy system,” the IEA said in a statement. “Rising fossil energy use will lead to irreversible and potentially catastrophic climate change” if current trends continue. The Agency is “increasingly pessimistic” about the prospect for dealing with climate change, said deputy executive director Richard Jones.
The U.N.’s authoritative Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has said changing weather patterns will make farming more unpredictable and make water supplies more unreliable. Global warming is increasing the frequency of droughts and floods, and could create a catastrophic rise of sea levels if mountain and Arctic glaciers continue to rapidly melt.
The international aid agency Oxfam also released a report Monday showing that extreme weather events are driving up food prices, and the world’s poorest peoples already spend 75 per cent of their income on food.
And so the talks in Durban begin. If no international agreement now, then what? We cannot negotiate with the climate.