Alberta came to Bali in a big way yesterday with the Mayor of Edmonton hosting a dinner at the local governments day and The Minister of Environment being whisked around from meeting to meeting looking very hot and tired in a wool suit.
I got a chance to have a brief word and give him
a copy of Stupid to the Last Drop by William Marsden. From the look on his face I gather I am not making many friends here. The whole idea that
Alberta can run around a climate change conference touting their policies while back at home they are busy in the tar sands clawing at the earth,
polluting our air and water and making Canada's emissions skyrocket seems unbelievable to me.
The much awaited Canadian government event was last night. There was a packed house, cameras rolling...but no Canadian government. The Canadian Youth Delegation (bless their hearts) were out in full force, all 32 of them lining up in front of the event handing out press release and fortune cookies with cute sayings inside about "the need to check your baseline" (Canadian government is using 2206 as a baseline for emissions reductions instead of the internationally recognized baseline of 1990). Bairds
handlers were scurrying around looking concerned. The event, billed as "Turning the Corner: Canada's climate plan", turned out to be three balding
middle aged white guys from industry talking about the potential for ethanol production and carbon sequestration in Canada. Was moderately interesting but as NDP MP Nathan Cullin pointed out if we had the right regulations in
place and policies to support new technology this would not be a presentation of little pie in the sky operations but we might actually see
the development of alternatives on a large scale.
At the beginning of the event it was announced that Baird would come and
make a brief statement at the end so everyone suffered through the whole
thing. But at the end we were told Baird could not come to his own event
because he was to busy. At nine oclock at night when there were no
negotiations going on and a room full of over a hundred delegates and
reporters waiting to here him defend Canada's plan? The room erupted with
former MP-Svend Robinson standing up and calling it a disgrace and a sham.
The moderator insisted we should just stay and discuss the industry
presentations but at least fifty people angrily walked out. So, you have to
be shuttled to a private tent and have media accreditation to hear the press
conference and when their finally is a public event the government hides in
their hotel rooms hoping we will all go away? Once again I am disgusted by
this government and as a Canadian very embarrassed. In a way though its
good. The Harper government has shown their true colors in Bali and it is
far from green.
Looks like controversy will erupt here in the next couple of days as the new
numbers on emissions increase are released and show that Canada's emissions
are far higher than we thought and devastating once we include emissions
from logging. Thursday Minister Baird will give his speech from the floor.
To all the Canadians sticking it out in Bali I wish you well. Thank you for
trying to hold our government accountable and fighting the good fight. I
for one have had enough. I hear Corporate Knights is blogging on the
Toronto Star site if you want to continue following Bali or check out the
Canadian Youth Delegation at www.cydbali.org.
Our opportunity to take a stand and vote for a government that prioritizes
fast action on climate change like the Australians did is coming up fast.
Let's get organized.
Tzeporah Berman is strategic director of Forest Ethics