Harper to back 'bogus' emissions plan
A leaked draft of next month's planned APEC leaders' declaration on the environment shows Prime Minister Stephen Harper is poised to back a "bogus" new global plan for cutting greenhouse-gas emissions, charges Green Party leader Elizabeth May. A copy of the proposed statement - to be announced Sept. 9 in Sydney by leaders of the 21 Asia-Pacific nations, including Canada and the US - was leaked to Greenpeace in Australia, where opposition critics are slamming Prime Minister John Howard for convincing his fellow APEC leaders to adopt a "weak" resolution on climate change to please President Bush. The draft document's emphasis on "aspirational" goals rather than firm targets to cap emissions has been widely denounced in the APEC meeting's host country, where Howard is expected to call an election days after the summit ends.
The leaked copy of the declaration - now posted at the Greenpeace-Australia website - states the leaders will "agree that a long-term aspirational global emissions reduction goal will be a key component of the post-2012 framework" for fighting climate change. "The notion of 'aspirational' targets is bogus," May said yesterday. "This is really dangerous stuff. We need to be negotiating serious targets." The draft APEC statement does say the 21 countries would "work toward the goal of reduction in energy intensity across the APEC region by at least 25% by 2030." But the goal is not a binding commitment with nation-by-nation energy-reduction targets. The proposed document also touts the importance of preserving forests as "carbon sinks." It expresses support for "the initiative by the US to convene a dialogue process among major economies" to create an alternative to the Kyoto Protocol, the 1997 international accord that contained specific greenhouse gas-reduction targets. "This is one more way the wheels are falling off, the only legally binding agreement in existence (the Kyoto accord) to cut emissions," May said of the draft APEC declaration. "Canada's complicity in eroding that agreement borders on the criminal."
(Montreal Gazette 070820)