Canada’s “good guy” international reputation is on shaky ground at the U.N. climate talks, says one expert.
Nobel Laurete Peter Doherty says all eyes at the upcoming Paris meetings will be on two countries.
“People are saying informally that Australia and Canada are emerging as public enemy number one for the Paris talks on climate,” said Doherty from a sustainability symposium being held in Hong Kong.
“No other names are being mentioned,” he added.
Doherty won the the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine jointly with Rolf M. Zinkernagel in 1996. The pair discovered how T cells recognise their target antigens in combination with major histocompatibility complex proteins. The work was considered a leap in the field of immunology.
The United Nations Climate Change Conferences are yearly meetings that began twenty years ago in Berlin to negotiate the Kyoto Protocol, a treaty meant to establish legally binding obligations for countries to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. The Paris meetings, to be held in December, are the twenty-second.
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Last December, almost 200 countries gathered in Peru for the twenty-first meeting, where the focus was on rising global surface temperatures.
Jeremiah Lengoasa, The deputy secretary general of the World Meteorological Organization, opened that meeting by noting that that 14 of the 15 warmest years on record had occurred in the 21st century.
“If November and December maintain the same global temperature anomaly value, the best estimates for 2014, according to this measure, will place it as the warmest year on record,” he told delegates.
“Nature is not waiting. We are seeing extreme events,” he added.
But Canada’s environment minister, Leona Aglukkaq, was non-committal about meeting climate change targets. Canada dropped out of the Kyoto protocol in 2011.
“If it makes sense for Canada, we’ll go there. But in terms of targets we have not finalized those as we move towards 2015,” she said.
In December, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper said regulating emissions in the oil industry would be “crazy”.
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