Signs of change: Day One at the COP16 climate talks in Cancun, Mexico

Cross-posted from WWF-Canada Blog —  November 29, 2010

(c) Fredy Mercay/WWF

I have arrived at the United Nations climate change conference in Cancun, Mexico. The first thing I saw as I drove away from the airport in a shuttle was a massive billboard advertisement for the NISSAN Leaf, “100% electrico” car.

 The second thing I saw before we reached the outer perimiter of the airport property was a Monarch butterfly. It brought me back immediately to my childhood tape deck, playing a David Suzuki sing-along on Monarch butterflies.

With an icon of a solution to climate change, and an icon of biodiversity, Day One in Mexico was symbolic of our work as a whole. We ultimately attend these international negotiations on climate change out of our interest to protect biodiversity by implementing solutions to climate change.

As we head into these negotiations, the stand point of the Canadian government is clear, as we saw the country’s only climate change bill (Bill C-311, the Climate Change Accountability Act) fail in the Senate just last week. The headlines this week have shown that Canada is starting to more deeply think about how we, as a country, move forward with the United States – given that our economies are so closely linked.

That said, Canada steps into these global talks with an ultimate responsibility to act. As we are among the top 10 global emitters, we owe it to the world to act on climate change. Overall, what we want to see is Canada playing a constructive role in these negotiations, and increasing its level of ambition. This is the 16th Conference of the Parties under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP16) – and each year, each conference, is increasingly important, as global emissions should be peaking in the next five years if we are to avoid the worst projected climate change.

Canada has, unfortunately, garnered itself a tarnished reputation here amidst the United Nations hallways. Where the Canadian flag is usually a symbol of pride for many, here it is very much less so. However, WWF is here to work with those who are committed to moving forward solutions as quickly and meaningfully as possible. And hopefully, that includes the leaders of not only our federal, but also our provincial governments.

The talks began just moments ago, and while electric cars and Monarch butterflies have already amazed me here in Mexico, Canada’s leadership still needs to do so.

2 Responses to “Signs of change: Day One at the COP16 climate talks in Cancun, Mexico”


  1. 1 Philippe LeMay Dec 1st, 2010 at 4:21 pm

    We have known for a while that oil drives the politics of our neighbor. What’s new now is that the oil spill has reached far north. Canada was known to be the most neutral and balanced nation in the world. I have proudly carried our maple leaf around the globe and stood chin high for the difference we made in world peace, social justice, and harmony with nature. I still believe in these values and I am ashamed and profoundly saddened that my country has lost its north. The saddest part is that we will in fact lose it. TarZands will defeat our white majesty. Ten years if we are lucky and the white bears will be gone. We will look back and our children will ask why? Why did we not believe that man made climate change was real? What will I answer to my 3 young children? They love polo polaire. What will I say? I can’t lie to them and I will have to say that we chose to drive our V8s to the corner store and that we were dummed up and fooled by a hand full of individuals who convinced us and our leaders that we needed to burn that fuel. What a shame and what a sad story. We know how it will end and our children will drive their electric cars. Why do we have to lose our polar bears and much more in the process? Why can’t we drive less and instead car pool and bus and bike and walk? Let’s stop buying gas and take the industry down, let’s vote with our pockets and our feet and go green once and for all, politicians won’t. Shame on our senators and glory to fellow Canadians who can bring back want it means to be one. Cut back in half your fuel consumption starting today, we can all do that. That’s a good start.

  1. 1 Lights Out, Green In » Blog Archive » Cancun just a washout? Trackback on Dec 1st, 2010 at 1:49 pm
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About Zoë


Zoë is the co-author of ''Global Warming for Dummies" written with Elizabeth May, and Editor on ItsGettingHotInHere. She is the Climate Policy & Advocacy Specialist for WWF-Canada and is on the provincial renewable energy stakeholder consultation project team in Nova Scotia. She is President on the national board of Sierra Club Canada and was a founding member of the Canadian Youth Climate Coalition. Zoë attends United Nations Climate Change Conferences and was aboard the Students On Ice International Polar Year 2007 Expedition to Antarctica. She has appeared Vanity Fair and ELLE magazines for her work on climate change.

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