Posted by Canadian Claire at the Bali International Conference Centre

On Monday, speaking in Canada’s Parliament, Environment Minister John Baird admitted that a rise of 2°C in the earth’s temperature “is unacceptable.”

This from a country that a few months ago we dubbed part of the ‘4°C club’ due to its backwards position in the climate negotiations. Canada had been advocating that countries consider all the ranges from Noble-Prize winning IPCC in deciding the range of emission reduction targets industrialized countries should adopt for the second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol. Only the lowest range, emission cuts of 25-40% below 1990 levels, gives us a chance at staying below a 2°C warming.

Adopting a position that warming should stay as far below 2°C as possible is a definite champagne cork popping event, had it not been for the fact that Canada’s domestic climate policies seem to be 6 degrees of separation away from supporting this position.

The government has adopted a 2020 goal that still leaves them above their Kyoto target 8 years after the fact. And what about the media reports that Prime Minister Harper called the whole Kyoto thing a “mistake that should never be repeated” at the Commonwealth summit just last month?

If Canada wants to avoid 2°C, which would destroy Canada’s Arctic environment and threaten the livelihood of indigenous peoples, Greenpeace is all for it. However, first, we need to get some numbers straight. Staying below 2 degrees means Canada must reduce its emissions to at least 25% below the 1990 level by 2020. And let’s stop fudging the base year, shall we? The rest of the world uses 1990 (Canada likes to use 2006).

Unfortunately, Canada seemed to be up to its old tricks today as it reminded countries that the Vienna meeting ‘only noted the usefulness of the [25-40%] range.’ Not really language becoming of a country whose Minister just adopted a 2°C target.

Two degrees of global warming is unacceptable. So is talking about two degrees without dealing with its implications here in Bali.