Canada dead last on climate change

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Canada dead last on climate change

We can no longer use the U.S. as an excuse for inaction

By GERALD BUTTS, FreelanceJuly 8, 2009

Here is a sobering thought to consider as Canada prepares to assume the presidency of the G8 following this week’s meeting in Italy: Canada has for the first time replaced the United States as the worst performer on tackling climate change among G8 nations. This was revealed in the recent G8 Climate Scorecard, released jointly by WWF, the global conservation organization, and the global insurance company Allianz.

The report confirms recent events in North America: There is a new worldview in the U.S. as it rejoins the global community, while Canada continues with the “No, we can’t” approach adopted by successive Canadian governments.

The fact that the U.S. is rapidly leaving Canada in its wake on climate change is particularly important, as Canada’s political leaders have repeatedly claimed that Canada couldn’t afford to move faster or further than our major trading partner.

If that argument ever had merit, it certainly doesn’t now as we see the difference that political leadership can make.

More has been done in the U.S. in the last six months than in the last 30 years. We have seen tough new standards for greenhouse-gas emissions from cars introduced by the Obama administration. There have been massive investments in energy efficiency, green power and public transit. A renewed respect for science, backed by new funding. Climate legislation that would cap emissions from large industrial polluters has been passed by the House of Representatives, and could become law before the international negotiations over a new global deal on climate action in Copenhagen later this year.

As we prepare to participate in the Copenhagen climate summit in December and to play host to next year’s G8 meeting in Huntsville, Ont., we should be taking the longer view and building a legacy of a green economy that will make Canadians proud. The good news is that progress in the U.S. shows how much can change, and how quickly, with a simple change in mindset, from “No we can’t” to “Yes we can.”

Full Story at the Gazette

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