Leading experts respond to outcome of UN climate talks in Cancun

Message in a Bottle: Save Lives at Cancun
Image by Oxfam International via Flickr

Cancun – The UN climate talks have ended in Cancun and leading experts from diverse organizations in Canada have responded as follows:

Clare Demerse, The Pembina Institute:

Today’s result chases away many of the ghosts of Copenhagen. Although the result is very far from perfect, the Cancun climate talks took real steps forward, including establishing a new global climate fund. Canada was singled out as a laggard among its peer countries, particularly on the question of the second phase of Kyoto. If Stephen Harper’s government wants to do better next time around, the formula is simple: strong climate policies at home would give Canada the credibility needed for success on the world stage. As long as the government continues to delay real actions to cut Canada’s emissions, international critiques are likely to continue.

Steven Guilbeault, Equiterre:

Important decisions were made here in Cancun on the reduction of deforestation, financing, as well as on the transfer of technologies. Despite some weaknesses, this agreement will allow the Kyoto Protocol and our collective efforts to combat climate change to continue towards a fair, ambitious and binding deal in 2011.  That being said, this agreement is silent on the massive gap between what countries have committed to, and what science tells us we need do to avoid catastrophic climate change. This is something that will require an unprecedented level of political will that must start with domestic action – something that the current Harper government has yet to demonstrate.

Graham Saul, Climate Action Network Canada:

A majority of Canadians, provincial governments, and elected members of parliament want action on climate change. Fortunately, here in Cancun, countries helped lay the architecture for a fair, ambitious and binding deal next year. It is now up to Canadians to ensure that our government takes action at home and comes back to the next round of negotiations with strong domestic actions to put on the table.

Virginie Lambert Ferry, Greenpeace Canada:

Despite Canada’s efforts to undermine the international climate negotiations, the process is on track towards a legally binding agreement next year in Durban, South Africa. This decision calls upon developed countries to double their emissions reductions target by next year.

Patrick Bonin, Association québécoise de lutte contre la pollution atmosphérique (AQLPA):

Thanks to public and international pressure, Canada did not stand in the way of the next phase of the Kyoto Protocol. Nevertheless, Canada has marginalized itself and lost its influence on the international scene. It now needs to make up for it, starting by taking strong domestic action to reduce its greenhouse gas pollution.

Regional Chief Eric Morris, Assembly of First Nations:

While progress has been made in Cancun, a lot of work on mitigation and adaptation remains to be made by all parties to the UNFCCC. Indigenous peoples can offer experience and solutions for consideration by the parties. We hope progress is made to allow the indigenous nations a seat at the climate change table in Durban and beyond.

Amber Church, Canadian Youth Delegation:

It could have been worse – Canada was only irrelevant in Cancun, instead of being detrimental.  Their insistence on holding up the Copenhagen Accord speaks to the fact that they don’t value strong climate action or the 350,000 lives lost every year by climate change. Thanks to pressure from Canadians, Canada was unable to obstruct the process to the level we had all feared.

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