Canadian Government Must be at Historic Climate Conference in Bolivia

For Immediate Release

Council of Canadians
Contact: 

Dylan Penner, Media Officer,
(613) 795-8685;
dpenner@canadians.org

Canadian Government Must be at Historic Climate Conference in Bolivia

OTTAWA, Ontario - The Council of Canadians wants to know whether the Canadian government
has plans to send a high-level delegation to the upcoming Climate
Conference in Cochabamba, Bolivia, April 19-22. The organization is
asking for a positive and public response to the Bolivian government’s
invitation to the upcoming international conference.

“Canadians deserve to know what the Canadian government’s plans are on
this critical global issue – is Canada going to be at the table, or
not? Unfortunately, the Canadian government is becoming well known for
its failure to participate productively to achieve meaningful
international action on the climate crisis, Canadians deserve and
expect better than this,” says Andrea Harden-Donahue, Energy Campaigner
with the Council of Canadians.

The participation of government representatives from more than 50
countries at the Cochabamba climate conference includes the majority of
‘Least Developed Countries’ (LDCs) whose populations will be most
vulnerable to climate change, as well as France, Russia and Spain.

The Council of Canadians has sent the Prime Minister an open letter
requesting a public response on the Canadian government’s plans for the
event which starts in less than two weeks time.

“While the Canadian government talks about becoming a ‘clean energy
superpower’ and promotes its support for the weak Copenhagen Accord,
the truth is, we have become an eco-outlaw,” says Harden-Donahue.
“Ongoing expansion in the tar sands, failing to adequately fund
renewable energy and energy efficiency programs, setting a target that
will actually amount to an increase above 1990 emission levels by 2020,
this all flies in the face of the type of commitments being discussed
in Cochabamba. This is why our government needs to be present, hear
what is being said, and commit to radically changing course.”

Conference aims include discussing a global referendum on climate
change, a ‘rights-based’ approach to the climate crisis and agreeing on
new commitments to be negotiated within the United Nations process.
This includes demanding emission reduction targets in line with climate
science. It includes greater responsibility on the part of developed
countries that have disproportionately contributed to the crisis,
creating “climate debt” owed to the global South.

The Copenhagen Accord, a product of backroom negotiations between a
handful of countries, fails to deliver effective international action.
While the Bolivian government has advocated keeping warming well below
the frequently referenced 2 degree target, pledges submitted under the
weak Copenhagen Accord could reportedly lead to a 3.9 degree Celsius
increase in average global temperatures. Bolivia is already
experiencing the effects of climate change with melting glaciers and
water shortage threats in mountainous regions.

Unlike the Copenhagen negotiations in December, which saw civil society
representatives increasingly shut out, this conference is advancing an
agenda led by civil society organizations working with governments.
 Over 10,000 people are expected to participate including prominent
individuals, representatives of civil society movements and
organizations, and over 1000 international journalists.

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