For release November 13, 2009 Be Strong, Mr. Harper – Go to Copenhagen
(Ottawa): A coalition of Canada’s leading non-governmental organizations is calling on Prime Minister Stephen Harper to accept an invitation received this week from the Government of Denmark to attend the landmark United Nations climate summit this December in Copenhagen. Over 40 world leaders have already announced their plans to participate in the Copenhagen summit.
“This is a time for statesmanship. World leaders are gathering in Copenhagen to find common cause on the most urgent issue of our time. Mr. Harper must go and represent Canada,” said John Bennett, Executive Director of Sierra Club of Canada.
“Canadians expect Mr. Harper to be there and to bring home a successful agreement,” said Mark Fried, policy coordinator at Oxfam Canada. “We have a chance to be leaders – particularly on adaptation funding for developing countries. Perhaps international pressure will influence him in a way that Canadians haven't yet been able to.”
At present, Canada's national emissions target falls far short of what the science demands, and Canada has made no meaningful commitments to provide financial support to poorer countries to tackle climate change.
“On the world stage, Canada is being seen as an obstacle to success at these negotiations. Attending the climate summit would prove that the Stephen Harper government isn’t only looking out for the interests of the Alberta tar sands and is serious about responding to this crisis,” says Graham Saul, Executive Director of Climate Action Network Canada. "The current government needs to realize the opportunity in front of us. The U.S. is already outspending Canada 14 to 1, per capita, on investments in renewable energy, and Europe has been ahead of the game on this for years. Harper needs to commit to Copenhagen today so we can get Canada back in the game.”
With a little over one month until the critical summit, Climate Action Network Canada still holds out hope that the Government of Canada will make the right choice and arrive in Copenhagen prepared to work with the rest of the world towards a fair, ambitious, and legally binding deal.