Developed Countries Disappoint in DohaAfter hours of dramatic overtime, this year’s UN climate talks wrapped up with little to brag about. With controversy erupting towards to end, the most notable take-away was a powerful message from the world’s poorest and most vulnerable countries. Particularly memorable was an appeal for action by a Philippines delegate while Typhoon Bopha simultaneously devastated his country. Developing nations left angered and deeply concerned by the lack of financial support from the world’s largest powers (and biggest polluters) and the hard realization that the ambition gap is only growing as poor countries continue to get hit harder and harder by a changing climate that they did next to nothing to contribute to.
Delegates agreed to extend the expiring Kyoto Protocol by a few years. Alongside cowardly Canada, Kyoto lost the participation of previous signatories like Japan and Russia, leaving Australia and most of the developed economies of Europe to carry the protocol forward. A framework has been put in place to finalize a new global deal on climate change by 2015 (to be implemented in 2020) — but delivered no real details on what this agreement will actually accomplish. At this rate, unless individual countries take action at home and inject some political will into these negotiations, this new deal will do little to steer us off our path towards 4 degree’s (or more) of global warming.
Harper Gives Green Light for Foreign Takeover of Canadian Oilsands
Despite broad public concern over loss of control and environmental risk, the Canadian government sealed the deal and approved the controversial $15.1 billion takeover of Calgary-based Nexen Inc. and a $6 billion acquisition of Progress Energy Resources Corp. by China National Offshore Oil Co. (CNOOC) and by Malaysia’s Petronas. These deals give foreign state-owned enterprises control over a chunk of the Canadian oilsands.
Harper says these companies have made “significant commitments” to maintain Canadian management and employment and to provide operational transparency, however under the Investment Canada Act, these companies have the right to keep operational decisions confidential unless companies agree to release them. Critics say this deal means giving up control over strategic assets, and denying potential economic advantages to Albertans and other Canadians. Moreover, following the approval of Bill C-38, which gutted environmental protections, environmental groups are deeply disturbed by these deals, especially considering that Nexen is a well known supporter of the widely-condemned Northern Gateway pipeline.