Greenpeace and the TckTckTck campaign threw a lifeline to the Ministers at the UN climate talks in Cancun today with a human banner calling for hope.
With the outcome of the Cancun talks anything but clear, the banner was to remind Ministers that there is still time to make the right decisions on climate change and put the world on a clear path to a clean and safe future.
So far Canada has not heard the hope message. Yesterday, Canada was awarded its sixth Fossil of the Day award, four of them first-place awards. This one was for calling on the conference to downgrade the historic Kyoto Protocol for fighting climate change and call it a sidecar issue.
Canada’s representative at the talks, Environment Minister John Baird, came to the conference ready to kill the Kyoto Protocol, rather than agree to a new, binding protocol, as environmental groups say is needed to finally get real action to address climate change.
Interestingly, Baird did a flip flop on Thursday. He came into Cancun criticizing the provinces for not doing enough on climate change, even though some have done much more than the Harper government has. Then, in his remarks to the Cancun plenary session, a forum for ministers to talk about climate issues, Baird praised the progress of provinces on climate change.
Going into the sessions today, Canada, Japan and Russia were under intense pressure to support an extension of the protocol. All three have been talking about letting it die.
The latest from the talks is that they will likely extend into Saturday. On Thursday, ministers were sent off into seven working groups on key issues — adaptation, mitigation, finance, technology, shared vision, deforestation and carbon capture and storage — to try to find agreement.
Most of the decisions Greenpeace wants to see remain possible at this point but expectations are not high.
Greenpeace feels that real progress depends on ministers finding a solution to the question of the future of the Kyoto Protocol. As long as developed countries, especially Canada, don’t give developing countries adequate assurance on a second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol, progress will be difficult. Developing countries will be reluctant to move on key actions they must take on deforestation and a long-term goal.