- Canada is being repeatedly targeted by activists as the most inertial developed country in trying to reach an agreement. A group of 400 activist groups give a “fossil of the day” award every day to 3 countries who have been stonewalling to reach an agreement and their little improvised stage has become a daily gathering point for passing delegates and the media at the meeting. Canada is leading the pack in this call to infamy. However, local government officials from Canada are standing out as leaders and asking for more aggressive carbon cuts. The mayor of Toronto, David Miller, joined the activists in this award drama and said he was ashamed of his federal government’s inaction. The Director of the Climate change Office of Quebec has also expressed concern about the federal government’s stance. The Canadian federal Environment Minister Jim Prentice and Canada's chief negotiator Michael Martin struck back this time and said they were “fed up” with the antics of activists and declared their own “hot air” of the day award to the Canadian activist group The Pembina Institute. The battle rages on ….
- Local government representatives from Developing countries are also making their voices heard as more concerned about climate change than their federal government counterparts. In a side event today organized by the “The Climate Group” (a coalition of sub-national governments and corporations concerned about climate change). Local government participants included The Welsh Assembly’s Minister of Environment, The Chair of the Council for Timbuktu (Mali), The Chief Administrative Officer for Mbale (Uganda) and the President of Provence-Alpes-Cote d’Azur Sao Paulo (Brazil). The corporate supporters of this group include such heavy-weights as The Virgin Group, Coca Cola, Nike and most surprisingly The News Corporation!
More targeted local government action might be the way to go if we are unable to reach an agreement at the national level. While his can also lead to a “race to the bottom” within countries, the momentum appears to be building towards greater local realization of these problems and “peer pressure’ between localities at the sub-national level in partnership with companies as the Climate Group is approaching might be our best shot.
By Saleem H. Ali (www.saleemali.net)