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Out in the Cold for Climate Change: UBC Professor Hopes for "Real Deal" in Copenhagen

Dr. Erica Frank

Climate change is all about thinking globally, and acting every place you can – and that’s why I organized a rally at UBC for meaningful climate change discussions in Copenhagen.  George Monbiot’s book "Heat" is a powerful read about climate change, but I was also moved by his words last week that “The harm Canada could do in the next two weeks will outweigh all the good it has done in a century.”  Our country isn’t leading, it isn’t even following – it’s getting in the way.
Calling Canada, a “corrupt petrostate” Monbiot says “Canada is slipping down the development ladder, retreating from a complex, diverse economy towards dependence on a single primary resource, which happens to be the dirtiest commodity known to man. The price of this transition is the brutalisation of the country… Until now I believed that the nation which has done most to sabotage a new climate change agreement was the United States. I was wrong. The real villain is Canada…”

And Monbiot goes on to talk about Canada’s abandoning the Kyoto Protocol – the only country that had ratified the treaty to have done this. He says Canada was meant to have cut emissions by 6% between 1990 and 2012, but that instead they have already risen by 26%, and that Canada will refuse to be sanctioned for abandoning its legal obligations, and reinforce those believing that climate sanctions are worthless.

I wasn’t the only one moved by Monbiot’s words.  Liz Ferris is a master’s student at UBC’s Institute for Resources, Environment and Sustainability, and the Climate Action Coordinator for the UBC Sustainability Office. She writes from Copenhagen, saying that she is “ashamed to be a Canadian in Copenhagen.”
When asked by the UBC paper how she felt about being there, she said she was “incredibly proud to represent a university that is so committed to operational change, so ashamed to be a Canadian, representing a country that is stalling the process of reaching the imperative of a just and effective climate deal.”

I moved here in January 2006, a bright, proud shade of green, just before my new country decided to withdraw from Kyoto.  I was less proud to have moved here then.

So that’s why I stood out in the cold with a hand=cranked flashlight this morning, and not a candle for a vigil.  Candles use a lot of energy for the amount of lumens they produce. We don’t want candle-lit greenwashing, we want a real deal in Copenhagen.

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