Canada takes early lead in the fossil race

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Summit watchers will recall Canada’s past domination of the Fossil of the Day competition – a race for the bottom in which the poorest performers in UNFCCC climate summits are singled out for their efforts to block, obstruct, degrade or otherwise louse up the climate talks.

Canada has appeared on the podium for the first three days of the conference – claiming the honour today for advocating a “base year” of 2006 instead of 1990, the year enshrined in the protocol and one still approved by 190 of the 192 signatories. (Croatia shared the prize today for being Canada’s partner in distraction.)

The base year refers to the year in which countries agree to measure their “original” carbon dioxide emissions, from which level they agree to cut by different percentages going forward. The world agreed on 1990 in Kyoto, but Canada promptly blew its budget for decades to come by INCREASING its greenhouse gas emissions by 24 per cent in the next 15 years, rather than cutting them by six per cent per our promise in Kyoto. Now, the Canadian government wants to start fresh, while (most of) the rest of the world wants to honour the Kyoto standard.

The other exception (besides Croatia) is the United States. U.S. Head of Delegation Todd Stern told a news conference today that the U.S. also wants a later base year, and that his country is determined to stay out of the Kyoto Protocol, which it signed but never ratified.

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