Canada’s Chance to Lead

Cross-posted from Corporate Knights

The Canadian Government has been aiming to lead the charge on government accountability since the day they entered office.  However, when it comes to accountability of climate change actions, their stance remains unclear.

The story begins with the usual suspect: the United States. The US is insisting that they will not be a part of any global climate change agreement unless there is some level of transparency and review of emission reductions from big polluters - such as China and India. And rumours have it that countries such as Canada, Japan, Russia and Australia are apt to follow suite.

The flip side of the coin is that China will not move on transparency (measuring and reporting its emissions) until the United States proves that it is serious about cutting emissions. There are a number of proposals on the table right now from various countries on how to deal with this disagreement. Continue reading ‘Canada’s Chance to Lead’

US and Canada: “Show the World that Cancun can.”

While climate change has become increasingly political among some countries, there is an increasing need to break away from this over the next two weeks in order to come down on key decisions here at the negotiations. And Canada, the United States, and Mexico may just be the ones to lead.

Mexico opened the annual United Nations climate change conference this week with candor and genuine thought. Patricia Espinosa Cantellano, Mexico’s Foreign Relations Secretary and this year’s President of the negotiations, opened the climate change talks with enthusiasm. She encouraged countries to have “dialogue in good faith,” and to urged negotiators to “preserve a collective good of enormous importance.” She spoke of the “flexibility needed from all” in order to find a common denominator amongst the room. She reiterated that this “will mean breaking out of our paralysis.”

Lykke Friis, Danish Minister for Climate and Energy and President of the previous Conference, set the bar by telling negotiators to “keep a legally-binding treaty in our sights.” This is the ultimate goal, to be worked towards in the coming year. In strong-suggestion, she ended with, “Let’s show the world that Cancun can.Continue reading ‘US and Canada: “Show the World that Cancun can.”’

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. Continue reading ‘Signs of change: Day One at the COP16 climate talks in Cancun, Mexico’

The Dalai Lama on Global Warming

I was in the same room as his Holiness, the 14th Dalai Lama for approximately 1.5 hours this afternoon. He made a visit to Toronto, Canada to address a crowd of over 30,000 in what could be summarized as a lesson of kindness.

What emerged from his mouth, however, reached issues including global warming and climate change. He affirmed his thoughts that humans make contributions to global warming, and dug a little deeper than most have:

These tragedies are not natural disasters, they are human disasters. They are man-made tragedies,” he said when explaining the impacts of climate change. “It is our own carelessness,” he concluded.

His observation of progress of the United Nations climate talks was clear: “The United Nations is [telling us that] national interest is of greater importance than the global interest,” as he described the inability to come to a global consensus in Copenhagen. “This is too narrow-minded. We must broaden our perspective.

His Holiness wove these concepts mindfully with discussing the utmost strength and importance of truth, openness, sincerity and honesty – all which he defines as necessities of building resolution. Simultaneously, he discussed the basis of working for the good of humanity, with the recognition that we all crave resolution and dislike conflict.

“Destruction of your neighbour is destruction of yourself.  Don’t remain at a distance [from each other]. Meet. Listen. Develop a spirit of dialogue. Create a sense of caring for the wellbeing of others.”

May the United Nations, countries, and individuals alike heed the Dalai Lama’s advice, because, as he says, the solutions “will not fall from the sky. It [will come] from our own action.”

G8 + G20: Only Got 2 Minutes to Save the World

2 minutes in English. Quick explanation summary of how the G8/G20 can address climate change at the upcoming Toronto G8 & G20 summits.

2 minutes en francais. J’explique comment les dirigeants peuvent aborder le suject des changements climatiques pendant les sommets de G8 & G20 a Toronto.

(English) (Francais)

I want to hug Ban Ki Moon

Cross-posted from

“We also have an opportunity to address a second existential threat to human kind – a threat posed by climate change. The science is sobering. And climate change is happening much, much faster than you may realize,” Ban Ki Moon, United Nations Secretary General said as he began is speech in Ottawa, Canada this morning.

“We must be ready and we must be committed to leave this planet Earth to our succeeding generations to be more hospitable and more environmentally sustainable. That is our political and historical responsibility.

That’s what I’m doing as the Secretary General – I’m going to discuss with Prime Minister Harper, as the leader of the G8, and as a chair of the G20 this year, and as one of the most developed countries in the world, Canada has a special role and special responsibility to play. That is what I want to emphasize here.” Continue reading ‘I want to hug Ban Ki Moon’

An Ode to Oda on ODA

(An ode to Minister Beverley Oda on the issue of Official Development Assistance)

The G8 International Development Ministers’ meeting in Halifax, Canada happened this week with little talk of climate change. The issue of climate change is set to be on the G8 agenda, yet no ministers’ meetings to date have raised the issue. This ministerial was the last of a series of meetings leading up to the G8 Summit in Muskoka this June.

Germany’s representative Dirk Niebel, Federal Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development, was the first to bring up climate change in a general context, as he noted that Development Ministers had a responsibility to include climate change in their planning and projects.

WWF (World Wildlife Fund) put out a statement with clear criteria expectations: “G8 International Development Ministers play a key role in ensuring climate financing are in fact new and additional to Official Development Assistance, and that they are not just robbing Peter to pay Paul. They should establish clear criteria and standards for ensuring that funds are additional,” said Mark Lutes, Finance Policy Coordinator at WWF International. Continue reading ‘An Ode to Oda on ODA’

Canada’s Climate Bill Makes it to 3rd Base

Cross-posted from WWF-Canada’s Blog

The House of Commons in Canada yesterday pushed through the Climate Change Accountability Act, Bill C-311 into its third reading because of a major shift made from within the Liberal Party of Canada.

The position of the Liberal caucus was not unanimous or certain before a motion was put forward yesterday. The Opposition Motion put forward by Member of Parliament David McGuinty yesterday was not only well-written, issue inclusive, and forward-thinking, it also included crucial goals, time-lines and events that Canada must focus on in order to engage with other world leaders on cutting emissions. Continue reading ‘Canada’s Climate Bill Makes it to 3rd Base’

Climategate or bust? Bust it is.

From the WWF-Canada Blog.

Media headlines in the past five months have not been particularly strengthening to the reputation of climate change science. It all started with a massive email hacking into East Anglia University, site of some of the world’s leading climate scientists who contribute to reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) . The hacked emails were coupled with claims that scientists were trying to manoeuvre the data in their favour, thus discrediting the work of the IPCC.

A recent inquiry into the issue was completed by the UK House of Commons Science and Technology Committee. They found that the hacked emails show no evidence of foul play on behalf of the scientists: “…insofar as we have been able to consider accusations of dishonesty we consider that there is no case to answer.”

Continue reading ‘Climategate or bust? Bust it is.

Japan Sets Climate Precedent for G8

Japan Foreign Affairs Press Secretary, Kazuo Kodama tonight re-affirmed Japan’s concerns around climate change. “As we all know, the global community must address the issue of rising sea levels and rising temperatures. In order to address [climate change] there seems to be a consensus today …that we have to transform our society from carbon intensive one to a low carbon society.”

Continue reading ‘Japan Sets Climate Precedent for G8′


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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