Though Stephen Harper promised an aggressive 'Made in Canada' solution to Global Warming before being elected in 2006, once in office he did a complete flip flop.
Taking George Bush's lead he pulled Canada out of Kyoto and set new goals, which were shocking in their ineffectiveness.
He also moved toward an 'emissions intensity' scheme, a system rendered impotent.
In place of mandatory caps on greenhouse gases, Bush announced a plan to seek an 18 percent decrease by 2012 in the "emissions intensity" of carbon dioxide pollution from power plants and utilities. But notice the sleight of hand: "emissions intensity" is a measure of emissions as a percentage of economic output. Because the administration forecasts significant growth over the next decade, by Bush's own calculations, carbon dioxide emissions will actually increase 14 percent in the next ten years. (1)In their Book on Bush, Eric Alterman and Mark Green, discuss how Bush's actions damaged international relations, and was one of the reasons that so many countries refused to join him in Iraq.
And it's Canada shaking the world now. George Montibot wrote for the UK Guardian that 'Canada's image lies in tatters'.
President Bush further deflated efforts to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by removing the United States from the Kyoto Protocol, the internationally negotiated program to limit CO 2' . Bush had said all along that he would not submit the treaty to the Senate, so his decision itself was no surprise. It was his complete disengagement from the international environmental process—first refusing to cap greenhouse gases domestically, then, pulling the United States out of Kyoto—that generated such worldwide danger. While Bush promised the media that the United States would continue working multilaterally, in the corridors of international diplomacy people regarded the world's only superpower and biggest polluter as pulling stakes on a problem that demands international cooperation.
Consider, for example, that the radiation from Chernobyl fell on Bridgeport, Connecticut—a perfect example of what UN secretary general Kofi Annan calls "problems without passports." The later hostility of European countries to Bush's Iraq policies was sown by his handling of Kyoto—in the anti-war editorials of 2003, they often linked his unilateralist foreign policy with his unilateralist environmental policy. In the international press, Bush's 'CO 2' announcement was referred to as "suicidal," "tragic," "irresponsible," -outrageous," "a low point in world environmental history"—and that was just from our allies. The (Scottish) Sunday Herald wrote of the president's speech: "It was the callousness of his words, the naked self-interest of his sentiment and the disregard he showed for the health and safety of the rest of the world, that really shook people." (2)
The harm done by us will outweigh our century of good works. And it was not only in the UK that this was being noticed.
When you think of Canada, which qualities come to mind? The world's peacekeeper, the friendly nation, a liberal counterweight to the harsher pieties of its southern neighbour, decent, civilised, fair, well-governed? Think again. This country's government is now behaving with all the sophistication of a chimpanzee's tea party ...
... So here I am, watching the astonishing spectacle of a beautiful, cultured nation turning itself into a corrupt petro-state. Canada is slipping down the development ladder, retreating from a complex, diverse economy towards dependence on a single primary resource, which happens to be the dirtiest commodity known to man. The price of this transition is the brutalisation of the country, and a government campaign against multilateralism as savage as any waged by George Bush. Until now I believed that the nation that has done most to sabotage a new climate change agreement was the United States. I was wrong. The real villain is Canada. Unless we can stop it, the harm done by Canada in December 2009 will outweigh a century of good works.
Secretary General Kamalesh Sharma made a move to have Canada removed from the Commonwealth because of our sabotaging of climate conferences and failure to address this serious issue. Canada!
And in October of 2009, 77 Developing nations walked out on Canada when it was our turn to address the conference.
The government's push to abandon much of the Kyoto protocol prompted dozens of developing countries to walk out on Canada's address during recent climate talks in Thailand, The Canadian Press has learned. The mass walkout came after the Canadian delegation suggested replacing the Kyoto Protocol with an entirely new global-warming pact, according to one of the negotiators and notes taken by others at the meeting.And when Obama was addressing the united Nations, Harper instead made a donut run.
A widening and bitter rift between rich and developing countries over climate change was laid bare last week when delegates from 180 nations met in Bangkok to shape a successor to Kyoto before its first phase expires in just over two years. The United Nations hopes to broker a draft deal in time for a meeting in Copenhagen this December. (2)
All of this contributed to Canada's losing it's seat on the UN Security Council. It had nothing to do with Michael Ignatieff. It was all Stephen Harper and George Bush.
1. The Book on Bush: How George W. (mis) Leads America, By Eric Alterman and Mark Green, Penguin Books, 2004, ISBN: 0-670-03273-5, Pg. 13-15
2. Canadian position prompts walk-out by developing countries at climate talks, By Steve Rennie, The Canadian Press, October 12, 2009