Beginning on Thursday, December 17, the Canadian Youth Delegation, along with thousands of other NGO representatives, were barred from the UN Climate Summit. Canada’s minority government has refused to hold briefings with the negotiating team in a location accessible to the CYD.
Fortunately, friends of the CYD with access to the daily briefings have been asking questions on our behalf.
On Thursday, Canada’s chief negotiator was asked what he thought about a youth sit in at the conference centre the previous day, and was asked to consider, in his response, that Canada has been blocking progress at these negotiations.
Canada’s chief negotiator responded by asking the CYD to explain to him how Canada has been blocking progress.
Here is the response that was delivered to Canada’s chief negotiator on Friday, December 18Ñ
In the opinion of the Canadian Youth Delegation, Canada’s government has been blocking progress for years and continues to do so here in Copenhagen. This view is shared by over 400 international non-government organizations, and many others including former British Chief Scientific Adviser David King.
Many of the techniques Canada’s government has employed to block progress involve sticking to an unreasonable mandate that we all know will never be accepted by the vast majority of the other parties involved in this consensus process. Here are some examples.
- Canada is one of the only nations blocking the uniformity of the 1990 baseline.
- Canada has said that “damage or loss” due to climate change is not worthy of adaptation funding. This directly breaches paragraph 1 c) iii of the Bali Action Plan.
- Despite signing on to and ratifying the Kyoto Protocol, Canada has repeatedly called for nullification of the Kyoto Protocol, despite developing countries’ clear position that they will not accept anything but a two track process.
- By failing to commit to concrete numbers on adaptation financing, Canada is not attempting to advance any discussion on the issue.
- Despite the science-based position of developing countries that a 25-40 % reduction in Annex 1 aggregate emissions, Canada has demonstrated a clear lack of commitment to meet its own 3% target.
Furthermore, your statement that this process is open and transparent is almost offensive. The Canadian Youth Delegation appreciates that you have made yourself accessible, but you often dodge questions by claiming they are “political.” Canada’s politicians, namely Environment Minister Prentice and Prime Minister Stephen Harper, are unwilling to meet with the Canadian Youth Delegation. In fact, Minister Prentice has refused to meet with civil society delegations here in Copenhagen, including the Canadian trade union delegation.
The fact that the Youth Delegation and other civil society delegations have been barred from the conference centre, and the government is unwilling to hold briefings with the negotiating team in a accessible location, effectively makes this process closed and undemocratic for the hundreds of Canadians who have travelled to Copenhagen with the intention of participating.
Recent developments in the media about a new climate plan that would significantly lower Canada’s emission reduction targets suggest that Canada’s federal government has not been open or transparent with Canadians or the international community. It is highly likely that these secret plans to lower Canada’s current target is influencing our government’s position here in Copenhagen. It is untenable that Canada’s negotiating mandate would include higher emission reduction targets than we are planning to implement domestically.
Please relay our comments to Minister Prentice, and ask him to relay them to Prime Minister Harper. And please send the message that we would welcome the chance to meet with Prime Minister Harper to discuss these issues. We never received a response to our official request for a meeting. Currently, we are three steps removed from our head of government, the one who ultimately determines our negotiating position.
The Canadian Youth Delegation