Mr. Speaker, my beloved Canada once had an international reputation as a green country with progressive environmental policies, but Canada walked away from its Kyoto Protocol targets. Canadian per capita emissions are 22.8 tonnes of carbon dioxide, which is double that of Norway and the United Kingdom, six times higher than citizens of China and 14 times higher than citizens of India.
Tim Flannery, author of The Weather Makers confirms the data, “Canada is by far the biggest defaulter on its Kyoto obligations on a tonnage basis. And as a result of that there is a lack of trust”.
The Conservative government likes to blame past governments, but four years after coming to power, it has yet to deliver a climate plan. It introduced three proposals to limit emissions from major polluters, but failed to implement any of them.
Another failure is, during the economic crisis, the government should have looked for a triple win, renewable stimulus, with positive impacts on the economy, jobs and the atmosphere. It should not have been viewed as a rescue package, but rather a survival package. President Obama invested $50 billion for green jobs. The United Kingdom invested $1.5 billion. Germany invested $13.8 billion. China invested $221 billion, or 110 times that of the U.K.
The government has repeatedly emerged as an obstacle to international climate negotiations, ignoring science and thus winning one “fossil award” after another.
As a result, study after study ranks Canada last or almost last in terms of global warming. The 2008 Climate Change Performance Index ranked Canada 56th out of 57 countries in terms of tackling emissions, ahead of only Saudi Arabia.
The 2009 assessment of G8 countries by Allianz ranked Canada last.
The 2010 Simon Fraser University and David Suzuki Foundation study show Canada with the second worst environmental record of OECD countries, ranking 24th out of 25 countries. Only the United States ranks lower.
The latter study shows that Canada's cold climate, large size and heavy reliance on natural resource industries do not explain Canada's poor performance. In fact, Dr. Gunton reports:
The traditional explanations for Canada's poor performance are simply not valid...These so-called natural disadvantages are offset by a major natural advantage we have over other countries—the availability of low polluting hydro power.
The government's weak policies are in fact behind Canada's poor environmental record.
The government must understand that climate change is not just an environmental issue, but rather a human rights issue, the right to live, an international security issue and a justice issue, and that is the ones who are suffering most had the least responsibility for it.
In any struggle, it is important to listen to the front-line voice, the canary in the coal mine, for example, aboriginal people, those living in low-lying states in Arctic. If people are impacted by climate change they should be meaningfully involved in Canada's process and negotiations. The government must be accountable to those impacted.
It is important for the government to realize that individuals are making change in their own lives and they want change on the national and international stage. When developing climate change policy or negotiating international deals, it is important for the government to ask if this is something my children would be proud of.
We have to negotiate for our children who are not here. We have to accept moral responsibility for the defining issue of our generation, as past generations did when they fought in the Great Wars.