Back again as Canada's environment minister, John Baird wins an unprecedented three Fossil of the Day awards on the first day of UN climate talks in Cancun.
Ottawa (30 Nov. 2010) - The Canadian government, led by reincarnated Environment Minister John Baird, has kicked off United Nations (UN) climate talks in Cancun, Mexico, by winning three Fossil of the Day awards - first, second and third place simultaneously!
With three consecutive Colossal Fossil of the Year awards behind them, it appears that Canada's Conservative government is certain to continue its reckless approach to climate change and win even more dubious awards in future.
Canada won its first Colossal Fossil at Bali in 2007 – also under the leadership of Baird.
The award is decided by a vote among 400 leading international organizations and awarded to the country that has done the most to disrupt or undermine the UN climate talks.
Here is the rational for awarding Canada's opening day sweep in Cancun:
- The Harper administration won third place for its spectacular year-long effort to regain its title of Colossal Fossil as the nation making the least constructive contribution to climate negotiations.
“Last January, Canada backed off of a weak target to adopt an even weaker one as part of the government’s plan to outsource climate policy to the United States. Canada’s plan to meet that target is, to put it nicely, still being written,” says Graham Saul of Climate Action Network (CAN). “Furthermore, the guy they’ve just put in charge as environment minister (is remembered) as the solo holdout against science-based targets for developed countries at Bali.”
- Canada wins second place for having no plan to cut emissions while implementing a policy agenda that results in cuts in five key areas:
- Federal support program for renewable energy.
- Energy efficiency upgrades for homeowners.
- Funding for Canada’s climate science foundation.
- The agendas of the G8 and G20 summits, where climate issues were kept off the agenda.
- Clean fuels policies affecting other countries.
“Internal government documents released (Nov. 30) reveal that Canada worked to 'kill' a U.S. federal clean fuels policy to protect its tar sands – working with allies like the Bush administration and Exxon," says Steven Guilbeault of Equiterre. “With friends like that, who needs clean energy?”
- Finally, Canada was awarded first place for having a Senate so hostile to climate issues that it actually makes the corporate-friendly U.S. Senate look progressive by comparison.
“In Canada, Conservative Senators killed a progressive climate change bill without even bothering to debate it, leaving Canada without a science-based target or any domestic transparency program for the already weak 2020 target the government has brought to these talks,” says Patrick Bonin of L'Association québécoise de lutte contre la pollution atmosphérique (AQLPA). “Only in Canada could you find such a fossil-worthy Senate.”
Thus, Canada starts off with a substantial 'fossil' lead in Cancun, taking three prizes on the first day — for killing progressive legislation, cancelling support for clean energy and failing to have any plan to meet its targets. As a result, the Harper government is well positioned for another two weeks of ignominy in Cancun.
Note: The Climate Action Network (CAN) makes three regular ‘Fossil of The Day’ awards to countries performing the worst during each day of negotiations at UN climate change conferences. The 'prestigious' awards are presented by Avaaz.org daily at 6 p.m. and are presented in turn by local activists at winning embassies in capital cities around the world. The Fossil of the Day awards were first presented at the climate talks in 1999 in Bonn.
The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 340,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. NUPGE