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Federal Government Under Fire on Climate Change
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Federal Government Under Fire on Climate Change

The international climate talks in Copenhagen seem to be stalling, in large part due to the differences between developed and developing nations. Now, Canada has come under criticism from provinces and First Nations groups who are not impressed with the negotiating team's stance. The governments of Ontario and Quebec are expressing concern that their efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions may hurt their provinces if emissions continue to rise elsewhere, particularly from the western tar sands developments. From The Globe and Mail:

In Denmark on Sunday for the United Nations climate convention, Quebec Premier Jean Charest condemned the federal government for the potential economic consequences of its anemic fight against climate change. ... Mr. Charest was backed by Ontario Environment Minister John Gerretsen, who says he doesn't want his province's efforts to allow the rest of Canada to get a free ride.
Additionally, indigenous representatives and their allies rolled out the "welcome mat" for Prime Minister Harper in Copenhagen today, complete with a gift basket full of treaties that Canada needs to honour or sign at the summit. Documents included the Kyoto Protocol, First Nations Treaties and the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Canadians are speaking out on the issue of climate change. We hope that in the next four days our federal government will listen and act for a strong, fair, binding agreement in Copenhagen.

Looking for a Real Deal in Copenhagen
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Looking for a Real Deal in Copenhagen

We are approaching the mid-way point of the United Nations climate talks in Copenhagen, and things aren't looking good for our future. Canada has been named "Fossil of the Day" 3 times, blocking progress on an agreement that sets fair and binding targets for greenhosue gas emissions from 2012 onward.
It's time to tell our leaders that we want a real deal to come out of this summit.
This weekend, people like you will be coming together all over the world for positive events that reinforce the message.
Friday December 11th - Vigils for Survival Join groups as they light candles to stand in solidarity with those who live in nations imminently threatened by climate change.
Saturday December 12th - Global Day of Rallies, Marches and Vigils Mobilize in major centres to take a stand against climate change and add your name to the global call for a real deal.
Sunday December 13th - Sound Off Communities of faith join together to ring bells, blow horns or beat drums, highlighting the urgency of the climate crisis.
Find out more about these events by visiting campaign websites like 350.org or locate an event near you by using this handy tool from TckTckTck.

BirdLife International’s 5 "asks" for Copenhagen
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BirdLife International’s 5 "asks" for Copenhagen

Climate change is happening. Over the last hundred years, the Earth’s surface temperature has risen by an average of 0.74°C, and, in places, well above 2°C. The rise is almost certainly linked to human-produced greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, which rose by 70% between 1970 and 2004 alone. One global study estimates that 15–37% of species could be committed to extinction by 2050 as a consequence of climate change; another that each degree of warming could drive another 100-500 bird species extinct. Temperature rises beyond 2°C are predicted to lead to catastrophic extinction rates, with few practical conservation options left. There is a window between now and 2015 within which it may be possible to significantly slow down or lower the expected increases in global temperatures, through reductions in global GHG emissions. This is why the meetings at Copenhagen are so important. As the BirdLife partner in Canada, we believe a global deal in Copenhagen must: 1. Cut global emissions by the amount needed to limit global average temperature rises to less than 2°C above pre-industrial levels. Developed countries should take the lead in cutting emissions, but rapidly industrialising developing nations must act too. Global emissions must peak and decline well before 2020, and go to 80% below 1990 levels by 2050. Industrialised countries must take on targets of 40% reductions below 1990 levels by 2020. 2. Recognise the vital importance of safeguarding biodiversity, ecosystems and the essential services they provide in climate change mitigation, in particular, reducing emissions from deforestation and degradation (REDD). Tropical deforestation accounts for 15-20% of all human-induced emissions, and must be reduced to zero by 2020. REDD should prioritise conservation of natural tropical forests because they are the most carbon dense, and must exclude conversion of natural forests to industrial forests or plantations. REDD must include provisions which ensure conservation of biodiversity because it is the plants and animals in natural forests that help create their carbon density. REDD must respect, support and promote the rights of local and indigenous peoples. 3. Recognise the vital importance of safeguarding biodiversity, ecosystems and the essential services they provide in climate change adaptation. Healthy bio-diverse environments play a vital role in maintaining and increasing resilience to climate change. Copenhagen outcomes should encompass taking an ecosystem approach to all adaptation, should refer to the direct use of ecosystems as part of a strategy to help people adapt to the adverse effects of climate change, and should recognise vulnerable ecosystems as a priority. 4. Provide funding for developing countries to reduce emissions from deforestation, enable adaptation to climate change, and support low-carbon development. At least $200 billion will be needed annually by 2020, including $35 billion for REDD, and $100 billion to enable developing countries to adapt to the inevitable impacts of climate change. 5. Ensure that when developed countries account for their land-use sectors they account fully for carbon emissions to, and removals from, the atmosphere. Current rules enable countries to hide emissions whilst claiming credit for carbon storage, and the proposed rules are shaping up to be even worse than the old ones. For further information on BirdLife International and climate change see http://www.birdlife.org/climate_change/ Ivory Gull photo donated by Judith Blakeley.

Emotions and Hopes High in Copenhagen for a Climate Deal
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Emotions and Hopes High in Copenhagen for a Climate Deal

I've been searching for a positive story to come out of the second day of the United Nations climate talks in Copenhagen. Most of the media stories are centred around the "leaked text" by developed nations that would widen the gap between rich and poor and devestate the world. I also read a wonderful first-hand account of the Africa civil society meeting where Sudanese leader Lumumba Di-Aping movingly outlined the consequences of an unequal and unfair agreement. Looking for news closer to home, the National Post is reporting that Canada has been a "constructive negotiator" at the climate talks. However, with a second "Fossil of the Day" award at this summit - as part of a group this time - Canada's negotiating team still needs to step forward and lead. I finally found what I was looking for in this video from Tck Tck Tck - Hope. I hope that the spirit of these youth spreads to the delegates and negotiators in Copenhagen. I hope that our leaders listen to the 10 million voices urging action now.

Canada True to Form at International Climate Summit
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Canada True to Form at International Climate Summit

Canada, once a world leader on environmental issues, is lagging behind on climate change yet again. The United Nations climate talks in Copenhagen began yesterday, seeking an international agreement for action on the climate crisis. On the first day of the negotiations, Canada was recognized with a "Fossil of the Day" award - given to countries that are blocking progress in the talks - for planning not to negotiate in Copenhagen. This position doesn't represent the will of Canadians, as over 150,000 of us have signed the KYOTOplus petition calling for strong solutions in Copenhagen and concrete action here at home. There is still time for Canada's team to show true leadership on the climate issue. The Copenhagen summit is the time to do it.

Canadian Parliament Sets Climate Change Intent
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Canadian Parliament Sets Climate Change Intent

All three opposition parties have made it clear that Canada should define targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to climate change before heading to international climate talks in Copenhagen next month. The Bloc Quebecois introduced a motion to Parliament, supported by the NDP and Liberals, that stated

That, in the opinion of the House, Canada should commit to propose at the Copenhagen conference on climate change: 1. reducing, through absolute reduction targets, greenhouse gas emissions in industrialized countries to 25% lower than 1990 levels, by 2020; 2. the necessity of limiting the rise in global temperatures to less than 2 degrees C higher than in the preindustrial era; and 3. supporting the developing countries in their efforts to reduce greenhouse gases and adapt to climate change.
The Conservatives voted against the motion. This week's motion contains many of the proposals from Bill C-311, the Climate Change Accountability Act that is still moving through the legislative process; however, unlike C-311, the motion is not legally binding. The public gesture of supporting the motion is a welcome one, but real action would have been to pass Bill C-311 when it was before the House five weeks ago. Canada can do more and must do more to address the global crisis of climate change.

The Carbon the World Forgot
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The Carbon the World Forgot

Canada has so much to contribute to mitigating climate change.
Just to start, we could stop the expansion of the tar stands, we could become leaders in sustainable, biodiversity-friendly alternative energy and we could ensure the preservation of one of our greatest treasures: the boreal forest.
A report released today by the Boreal Songbird Initiative and the Canadian Boreal Initiative explains why ensuring this treasure is preserved is so important in the fight against climate change.
The report comes about a month after a Global Forest Watch paper highlighted the fact that governments and industry do not measure or report on the significant amounts of greenhouse gases that are emitted when the Boreal forest is destroyed for tar sands development.
Mara posted earlier about why forests matter. And our friends at CPAWS are taking the forest message to Copenhagen with their make forests count campaign.
The takeaway message from all of this: The Boreal forest is the world’s largest and most important terrestrial carbon storehouse, and keeping that boreal carbon reservoir in place is essential to avoid accelerating climate change.
Photo: Oscar Lake in the Northwest Territories by D. Langhorst, Ducks Unlimited

CLIMATE DAY – Parliament Hill Tomorrow – Be There!
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CLIMATE DAY – Parliament Hill Tomorrow – Be There!

A UK Government website has made this map available to highlight the importance of success in Copenhagen in December.
But there is no such sense of urgency coming from our government.
This is why it is SO important for you to join us tomorrow for CLIMATE DAY, at Parliament Hill in Ottawa from noon to 3:30, or find an event in a city near you!

KYOTOplus Coalition on Parliament Hill
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KYOTOplus Coalition on Parliament Hill

Representatives of the KYOTOplus Coalition - 100 diverse groups and organizations, including Nature Canada - presented the first 100,000 signatures to the KYOTOplus petition to the Prime Minister's Office this morning.
At a news conference including speakers from Greenpeace and Oxfam, banners with the names of over 40,000 signatories were unfurled and held high in front of the Parliament Buildings. I have to say, it's an impressive sight!
Members of the NDP, Bloc Québecois and Green Party also spoke and commended the Canadians who have already signed the petition, encouraging all MPs to pay attention to the demands of the public for positive action on climate change.
The KYOTOplus petition calls for science-based greenhouse gas emission targets in Canada and strong global action at the climate change talks in Copenhagen this December. The coalition will continue to collect signatures to the petition until the Copenhagen meetings, when the balance of the signatories will be presented to the Prime Minister.
The banners included a sample of over 40,000 names collected by coalition members.
NDP Environment Critic Linda Duncan addresses the crowd.
The banners were arrayed in front of the Peace Tower on Parliament Hill.

Climate Change Accountability Delayed
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Climate Change Accountability Delayed

As we told you earlier this week, Bill C-311, the Climate Change Accountability Act, is currently passing through parliament. Yesterday was a crucial vote to move the Bill to Third Reading in the House of Commons. It has been stuck in the House Environment Committee since April. In yesterday's vote, the Liberals and Conservatives decided to leave the Bill at the Committee for further study. This decision means that Canada will go to international climate talks in Copenhagen this December without a clear plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Canada is the only country in the world to renounce its climate change commitments under the Kyoto Protocol. Read more about Bill C-311 and yesterday's vote on NetNewsledger.com.

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