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'Carbon Cartel': Canada, Australia Blasted for Fueling Climate Crisis

Green groups outraged as Canadian government heaps praise on Australian PM's bid to gut carbon tax

Sarah Lazare

As world representatives gather in Warsaw for the UN climate change conference, the Canadian government is urging nations to follow Australia in rejecting greenhouse gas-curbing measures—to the outrage of environmental groups.

"It's no surprise that Harper is joining Australia's Prime Minister Abbot in a race to the bottom," said Jamie Henn of 350.org in an interview with Common Dreams. "Despite their greenwashing attempts, the Harper government is just another member of the carbon cartel."

In a public statement released this week, the Harper administration heaped praise on Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s newly-introduced legislation to repeal the country's carbon tax and encouraged others to take heed.

“Canada applauds the decision by Prime Minister Abbott to introduce legislation to repeal Australia’s carbon tax," reads the statement, released by Paul Calandra, Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister, on behalf of the government. "The Australian Prime Minister’s decision will be noticed around the world and sends an important message."

The statement went on to declare that the Canadian government's rejection of a carbon tax has allowed it to 'protect and create' jobs while bringing greenhouse gas emissions down.

Yet an October report from the Canadian government's own entity—Environment Canada— finds that Canada will fail to meet its 2020 goals for reduction of carbon emissions.

Canada withdrew from the Kyoto Protocol in 2011, with its failure to meet its own modest carbon-cutting goals due in large part to its booming tar sands industry—which is set to expand further if the Canadian government-supported Keystone XL pipeline is approved by the Obama administration.

In 2009, Australia replaced the United States as the biggest carbon emitter per capita in the world, with Canada close behind in third place.

"This is unacceptable amid the climate conference in Poland and the devastation from typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines," said Amanda Starbuck of Rainforest Action Network in an interview with Common Dreams. "

"Canada is taking it to a whole new level by encouraging another country not to live up to its climate commitment," she added.

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