Shards of Kyoto

Desert Sunset

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With the Durban climate-change talks upon us, Environment Minister Peter Kent is recycling the tired old Harper myth about holding out for a “global plan” that includes all major greenhouse-gas emitters, such as India and China.

Never mind that Kyoto did exactly that.  Building on a framework signed by the Mulroney government and further negotiated in good faith by the Chrétien and Martin governments, with Kyoto, Canada was able to take a leadership role in a truly global undertaking.

Following the formula that worked so well for ozone-depletion initiatives, the developed nations, responsible for most of the existing problem, were to lead the way taking the brunt of the initial load, with developing nations to take on more in phase two — once we’d shown our bona fides.

India and China did indeed commit to this.  Yet, because for a few years these developing economies, clawing themselves out of deep poverty, weren’t expected to take on a full burden of cleaning up after the world’s wealthy, long-time polluters such as us, the Harper government, to Canada’s shame, reneged.

It’s one thing to sincerely believe Kyoto was a mistake and set about, however erroneously, to honestly undo it;  it’s quite another to do so without the courage or the integrity to own up to it, always blaming someone else in belligerent denial.

I wonder how Mr. Kent, or Mr. Harper for that matter, can expect to be taken seriously in any climate-change negotiation, standing brick-in-hand among the bitter shards of Kyoto.

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