Wednesday, November 15, 2006

the air out

Would it not be ideal to have a federal environment minister who cared about the environment. I am not saying a David Suzuki type person, just someone with a built in knowledge. They could also be politically savy, that is fine.

The Feds are such line riders that they lose site of their roles as a government. The former party in power was also guilty of this. The need for some of these leaders and people in parliament to get their heads out of the deep sand in Ottawa is more and more obvious when they release platforms like The Clean Air Act.

I could be convinced that Kyoto is a really hard target to meet, but the Clean Air act is a platform of a party that has a short lifeline.

Ambrose brings Canada’s political dirty laundry to conference

By Mike De Souza
CanWest News Service

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

CREDIT: (AP Photo/Karel Prinsloo)
Canadian Environment Minister Rona Ambrose speak to reporters, Tuesday, Nov. 14, 2006 at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Nairobi, Kenya.
NAIROBI, Kenya -- Environment Minister Rona Ambrose tossed in a few jarring shots at her critics on Wednesday as she addressed the annual United Nations climate change conference, with a pledge that her government would achieve better results to fight global warming than its predecessor.

“Indeed, we have chosen real progress over delay - and transparency over rhetoric,” she said in a prepared speech. “We are taking responsibility, embarking on pragmatic solutions and finally beginning the process of putting our own house in order.”

Ambrose told the UN conference that the previous Liberal government left Canada in an “unacceptable situation” without sufficient or accountable measures to address climate change. She explained it pushed the country’s international Kyoto Protocol commitment, to reduce greenhouse gases by six per cent below 1990 levels, out of reach.

While some provincial governments have allied themselves with opposition parties and environmentalists who are urging the federal Conservatives to recommit to Canada’s Kyoto targets, Ambrose accused her opponents of tearing the country apart.

“There are some who are using the Kyoto Protocol to create divisions within our country -- but we will not let that happen,” she said.

Environmentalists and opposition parties, who criticized the minister in Nairobi earlier this week, were shocked by Ambrose’s partisan attack, calling it out of place at an official UN event.

“It was like a speech at the House of Commons,” said Matthew Bramley, a climate change policy analyst at the Pembina Institute. “The minister really said nothing new, nothing that changes her government’s position that it’s not even going to try to meet our Kyoto obligation. She started talking more about Kyoto, but when she’s pushed, it’s clear that she has no intention of actually trying to meet the target.”

After her speech, Ambrose said that she made her presentation to move the Kyoto debate past partisan issues, but her critics didn’t buy her explanation.

“Everyone knows the Liberal record was bad,” said NDP critic Nathan Cullen. “That’s not necessarily the world’s concern. They just want to know that Canada’s committed, and we’re not under this Conservative government.”

Ambrose’s speech followed a call from the UN’s top ranking official for Canada to be a world leader in fighting global warming.

“I believe Canada is among the countries that are making an effort,” said UN secretary General Kofi Annan at a news conference, following a speech in the morning. “But I believe that each country should really increase its efforts, and Canada should play a leadership role to show other countries that it can be done. And I believe that the Canadian population is very engaged in this area, and I hope that, by working together with the government, they will be able to show other countries what can be done in this area.”

Annan also announced that six UN agencies would be brought together to help deliver resources to developing parts of the African continent that are struggling to cope with the existing impact of climate change. The resources would be routed through the Kyoto protocol’s Clean Development Mechanism, which allows industrialized countries to earn credits that can go towards their targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions when they invest in projects outside their own borders.

The industrialized world has a responsibility to help poorer countries adapt to climate change which is becoming a matter of survival in many parts of Africa, he added.

Meantime, Quebec’s Environment Minister joined the critics who were shaking their heads about Ambrose’s speech.

“I don’t have any more confidence in her today, than I did yesterday or the day before,” said Bechard who was invited by Ambrose to join the Canadian delegation. “We would have really liked her to talk about the Quebec plan. It’s a plan that’s not only a source of pride of Quebecers, but that should also be a source of pride of Canadians.”

Cullen suggested she intentionally left Quebec out of her speech since it has a plan to achieve Kyoto’s targets.

“Quebec is a real problem for Ms. Ambrose and Mr. Harper, because (Quebec) is putting truth to the lie that Canada can’t go after its Kyoto targets,”
said Cullen.
© CanWest News Service 2006

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