Top: Canada environment minister, Leona Aglukkaq
Below: Typhoon Haiyan damage
Canada's climate policy - rated as among the worst in the developed world - makes environment minister Leona Aglukkaq's presence at COP 19 in Warsaw seem more of a formality than anything else. Christian Holz head of Climate Action Network Canada is quoted by CBC saying that he regards the presence of the Canadian delegation in Warsaw as "largely irrelevant" given Canada's reputation for inaction on the climate change front.
A European report released to coincide with the Warsaw summit places Canada 55th out of 58 countries when it comes to dealing with greenhouse gas emissions. Canada places ahead of Saudi Arabia, Kazakhstan and Iran.
An article in the Huffington Post cites a report by the Washington-based Center for Global Development. It ranks Canada 27th in the environment protection category among the world's wealthiest 27 countries.
The pull-out from Kyoto has made matters worse. Canada has one of the highest levels of greenhouse gas production per capita. Low gas taxes are also factor. But you would think the country was roaring ahead to meet its emission cutting goals if you listened to former environment minister Peter Kent. Last year during a speech in Ottawa he said that Canada was halfway toward meeting the targets it set at the Copenhagen climate change conference in 2009. If it sounded too good to be true, it was. The current environment minister, Leona Aglukkaq, has backed away from the "halfway" claim and now says that Canada is a quarter of the way to reaching its greenhouse gas reduction goal.
Aglukkaq is quoted in a CBC News article saying: "Since 2005, Canadian greenhouse gas emissions have decreased by 4.8 per cent." Despite Aglukkaq's talk of the government's sector-by-sector approach, the results speak for themselves, and they're not good enough.
Head of Canada's Green Party, Elizabeth May, told CBC News that... "This is not where Canadians want to be. We have become, at UN climate meetings, the worst country in the room." She also added: "Canada's profile in these international negotiations has fallen so low that we really are met with a wall of contempt."