Monday, December 21, 2009

The U.S. Doesn't Mention Canada in the New Climate Deal

Many in the Canadian media have been feeding Harper's enormous ego, by suggesting that he saved the day at Copenhagen, and Jim Prentice is strutting around like the cock of the walk.

But when you read accounts from places outside this country, Canada doesn't even get an honourable mention. In fact they get many dishonourable mentions as recipients of the Colossal Fossil' award.

So what exactly did we do?

The U.S. didn't want their pictures taken with us. Our Prime Minister was not invited to the private talks that President Obama had with world leaders.

Did we sign anything? Has anyone seen any proof that we are part of this deal?

"After much predictable wrangling, China, India, Brazil, South Africa, and the United States, led by a desperate President Barack Obama, prompted a nonbinding commitment to limit the increase in world temperatures to 2 degrees Celsius above preindustrial levels by 2050."

Were we pencilled in later?

The article actually spoke of something else rather interesting though .. a new world order?

The moral was not that international conferences couldn’t please everyone. ... First, every nation, from major to the most minor, now possesses some level of veto power. It’s as if the world is brimming with the likes of Senators Ben Nelson and Joe Lieberman. These guys can say no to the Senate bill on health-care reform and kill it, much as blocs of even the most inconsequential of nations can say “no” and thereby slow or perhaps even stop the train.

Second, African nations in particular seem to have gotten religious about bloc power. At Copenhagen, and for the first time, all of them banded together to pressure rich countries to pay for and save them from the scourges of global warming. Instead of taking the conditions of Western economies into account and pocketing the $100 billion offer of the United States, they insisted on more and risked all. When an Ethiopian leader tried to broker a compromise with the West, his colleagues slapped him down. And the Sudanese leader certainly revealed where many African heads were when he compared the climate change deal to the German Holocaust against the Jews. And African voices are made louder by their new alliance with China, the richest poor nations among them.

Third, China is emerging both as the No. 2 power in the world and as the No. 1 spoiler of multilateral action—from global warming to sanctions against North Korea. China positions itself as the champion of poor nations, and still pretends to be one itself. .. Never mind that China obsessively focuses on feathering its own economic nest, often at the expense of poor nations. Never mind that China is the second largest economy in the world and the biggest holder of foreign financial reserves, mainly American. Never mind that despite America and Western Europe having been the biggest global warmers in the past, China is today the largest emitter of greenhouse gases.

Fourth, in addition to China’s being stronger than it used to be, the United States is weaker than before and spread thin in military commitments and wars. In particular, America is weaker economically, the weakest it’s been comparatively in almost 60 years. It hardly ever was in a position to dictate solutions even at the height of its powers, but today, even its clear position of primacy has been diluted. Presidents can’t pay for cooperation or threaten punishments on the economic front as they once did. Americans can’t afford it.

Where does this leave Canada? Harper hooked his cart to GW's wagon, but he appears to now be out of the loop. That Obama dislikes him is no longer a secret. I can't say I blame him. I don't much like Stephen Harper either.

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