Meetings with Prentice, climate hopes "dashed?"
Yesterday the Canadian Youth Delegation met with Minister of Environment Jim Prentice in his office in the confederation building in Ottawa - it was a cordial meeting that wasn't anything beyond what was expected, besides the several photographers on Prentices' staff that surely will be making their way to his website with description of "Prentice meeting Canadian youth on climate change".
Prentice reiterated the line that greenhouse gas emissions should peak by 2020, but indicated that he would be unwilling to move from the 20% reduction by 2020 using 2006 as a baseline (roughly translating to only a 3% reduction under the 1990 levels). He indicated that the government was using the 2006 baseline instead of the growing standard of the 1990 baseline that was the year the Conservative government came into power and became the first real government to take "serious" action on climate change. Because of our relationship with the United States and the likelihood that there would be a continental agreement, he said it would not be practical to "superimpose European targets" onto Canada.
The Canadian Youth Delegation pressed him on the delay of Bill C311 in parliament yesterday (where Prentice was not even present for the vote), where he responded that the bill was deeply flawed, and was not realistic in the Canadian context - translating that the Conservatives may never support the bill, the only real legislation put on the table so far for hard emissions reductions.
All this, along with what Prentice told the Globe and Mail in a phone interview yesterday indicates that the road to Copnehagen looks bleak in terms of creating a deal by the time countries meet in Copenhagen. He told the Globe and Mail, “I have to take a realistic view that, given the amount of work that remains to be done, we're running out of time,” he said.
Hence the Globe and Mail's headline on the front page today: Ottawa dashes hope for climate treaty in Copenhagen.