Sunday, May 21, 2006

The mess continues

According to the Canadian Press, a leaked document shows that Canadian negotiators at the climate talks in Bonn were instructed to avoid deeper emissions cuts for Canada and "block other countries from taking on more stringent commitments". People are calling for the Environment Minister, Rona Ambrose, to resign.

There is a lot of blustering from all sides here. I'd say the take-home message is the Canadian government has officially joined its neighbour to the south as an obstacle to international climate policy.

Word is that Canada will join the Asia-Pacific Partnership on Clean Development and Climate. The APP is a loose agreement between Australia, China, the United States, South Korea and Japan to work on the development and deployment of clean(er) energy technologies.

The APP should not be confused, however, with an international climate policy like the Kyoto Protocol or [Kyoto's origin] the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). The APP does not and will not contain any emissions targets, binding or voluntary. It is essentially a agreement to make a trade agreement about some lower emissions energy technologies.

Deals like the APP are not necessarily a bad idea. We all support the proliferation of lower emitting energy technology that could combat air pollution and climate change. Right now, the plan has no specifics and almost no money, so expectations are low. And the real fear is that by involving the major emitting countries, the APP may take away from Kyoto and the development of future "post-Kyoto" international policy under the UNFCCC specifically directed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and stabilize the level of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere at an acceptable level.

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