With Australian PM John Howard set to be dethroned in the Nov. 24th Australian election, Canada’s Conservative Government led by Prime Minister Stephen Harper, and President George W Bush will lose their last key ally in their anti-Kyoto Protocol battle.
The United States and Australia never ratified the Kyoto agreement in the first place and picked up a key ally in Canada when the right-wing Conservative government took power 2 years ago. The Conservative party quickly joined ranks with the US and Australia stating that Kyoto targets could never be met and they preferred a “Made in Canada” approach to climate change.
Such sentiments were not surprising considering that it was only five years ago that Prime Minister Harper claimed Kyoto was a “job-killing,” “economy destroying” “socialist scheme.”
Finding themselves all alone on the world stage is bad news, but its the timing of the loss that should have the two heads of state sweating.
In December world leaders will meet in Bali at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change where they will begin negotiating a successor to the Kyoto Protocol. And while Prime Minister Stephen Harper and President Bush are calling for voluntary targets (“aspirational” in their words), the world’s community is looking for much more aggressive targets. Even the OPEC oil cartel is talking tougher than Canada and the United States at this point.
Harper and Bush also appear to be more concerned about what China and India are doing, while emissions per capita in their own countries remain among the world’s highest. They don’t seem to understand that it was, in large part, North America’s unmitigated burning of fossil fuels that got us into this mess in the first place.
In the words of rapper cum blues singer, Everlast, “the time has come to clean up our own backyard.”
Harper and Bush also don’t seem to understand that the public (especially in Canada) is waking up to the issue of climate change and getting trashed on the world stage is not an image either politician needs right now. With Republican support flailing in the United States and the Conservative party stalled in the polls, both leaders have an opportunity to shine on the issue of climate change, take the initiative to do what’s right and reap the political rewards.
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