Sierra Club Canada News Release
Thursday, December 4, 2008
Four Fossil Awards for Canada at UN Climate Conference
OTTAWA—Today, during international climate talks in Poznan, Poland, Canada was given an unprecedented four “Fossil of the Day” awards by the international community.
The awards are given to governments taking positions that stall or block the progress of climate negotiations. At the climate talks, the Canadian delegation has failed to take a constructive approach to negotiations – at the same time as the Harper government prorogued Parliament, shutting down debate until next year.
“Canada must take a more constructive approach to international climate talks. With ever-increasing levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, time is running out,” said Mike Buckthought, National Climate Change Campaigner. “We need deep reductions in emissions to avoid the most dangerous consequences of climate change.”
Canada tied for first place with Japan and Russia in failing to support deep reductions in emissions of greenhouse gases. Reductions of at least 25-40% are needed by 2020, in order to avoid dangerous global warming that threatens most of the world’s plant and animal species.
For the second place Fossil of the Day Award, the international community awarded Canada two awards of shame – an unusual tie for second place. Canada’s negotiators argued that the country should get a break on its emissions targets, because the tar sands release a lot of carbon.
“The tar sands should not be exempted from targets for reductions. Quite the contrary, Canada and the international community need to apply disincentives for the burning of dirty oil from the tar sands,” said Stephen Hazell, Executive Director.
Canada also insisted that rich countries should get special treatment for “welfare loss” – the “hardship” of using smaller cars, or public transit.
Canada picked up a third place award, for a total of four prizes of shame in arguing that special “national circumstances” (i.e., Canada is cold and big) are the reason for Canada being 29% above its Kyoto target. This argument ignores the fact that other cold countries such as Sweden have been able to meet their Kyoto targets.
“Canada is missing the chance to create thousands of new green jobs in the renewable energy and energy efficiency sectors,” said Hazell. “Other countries with northern climates have invested in a sustainable economy, and the investments have paid off – with the creation of thousands of new jobs.”
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For more information contact:
Stephen Hazell, Executive Director 613-241-4611 ext. 238 or 613-724-1908 (cell)
Mike Buckthought, National Climate Change Campaigner, 613-241-4611 ext. 235