Canada knocked down during UN climate talks

Wednesday is a big day at the United Nations climate change conference in Warsaw.

That’s when environment ministers sit down and get down to business to see if countries can emerge on Friday with an agreement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, to come into force in 2020.

The world’s major economies made commitments in 2009 at the Copenhagen conference to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions, but they come to an end in 2020. The goal now is to bring in poorer countries and establish new commitments.

Here are five things to know about Canada as the UN talks enter the final days. 

  1. Heading into the UN meeting, we already knew Canada won't meet our modest target, agreed to in Copenhagen, of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 17 per cent of 2005 levels by 2020.
  2. Midway through the two-week UN meeting in Warsaw, Canada teamed up with Australia on Sunday to reject a decision at the Commonwealth heads of government meeting to set up a new climate fund to help poor countries. "The New Zealand prime minister, John Key, who agreed to the fund in principle, said [Australian Prime Minister] Tony Abbott and the Canadian delegate had said they 'can't agree to fund their contribution.'"
  3. On Monday, a new ranking  by the Washington-based Center for Global Development ranked Canada 27th out of 27 in environmental protection in a ranking of wealthy nations. 
  4. On the same day, Germanwatch and the Climate Action Network Europe released an international ranking on climate change leadership showing Canada in 58th spot out of 61 countries. Canada beat out Iran, Kazakhstan and Saudi Arabia.
  5. On Tuesday, a proposal by developing countries that wealthy nations pay to clean up the mess caused by extreme climate events, such as the recent typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines, became an "explosive" issue, according to the Guardian’s John Vidal. "With neither side prepared to give way on the principle of 'loss and damage,' confrontation looms at the close of the talks on Friday."

 Photo: Used under a Creative Commons BY 2.0 licence.

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