September 29, 2020

BY JODY ANDERSON

Canada’s reputation when it comes to climate change doesn’t look too good, if the word during this year’s United Nation’s climate change convention is anything to go by.

The 19th annual United Nation’s Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) which was held in Warsaw, Poland last month, received quite a bit of coverage over its two-week duration. One of the things I have noticed is that Canada is in the back of the pack when it comes to rankings in a climate change report.

This report was not just about how much a country is polluting but also about the policies and action being taken to reduce pollution. In this regard Canada performs poorly.

I found it quite disappointing to see Canada ranked so low. We are ranked near last in the Climate Change Performance Index (CCPI) report that was released to coincide with the climate convention. In it Canada was ranked at 58 out of 61 countries, only ahead of Iran, Kazakhstan and Saudi Arabia. This report and these conferences to me are about the future and Canada’s inaction or at least the perception of our inaction is disturbing.

Environment Minister Leona Aglukkaq was quoted in a government press release as saying:

“Canada is taking a leadership role in international climate change efforts by focusing on delivering significant environmental and economic benefits for all Canadians,” and adding  “the government of Canada is committed to establishing a fair and effective climate change agreement that includes commitments by all major emitters.”

Stating that Canada is taking a leadership role in international climate change efforts while being ranked near last in the CCPI doesn’t make much sense.

Even the things we have agreed to aren’t on track to pan out. The Canadian government agreed to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 17 per cent from 2005 levels by 2020 as part of the Copenhagen Accord in 2009. Now, however, it looks like we won’t be able to.

Breaking promises is bad for the environment and is also bad for Canada’s reputation on the international stage. Committing to that goal wouldn’t solve the climate change problem but it would at least be some form of action Canada could put its name on.

This country’s name was dragged through the mud by the press covering the convention. Hopefully politicians will be embarrassed and will start addressing the concerns with a bigger effort.

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