Canada Should Lead on Climate Talks or "Get Out of the Way," Progressive NGOs say

December 5, 2011, 1:50 PM EST

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In a joint statement, progressive non-governmental organizations and trade unions are urging the Harper government to lead on a new ambitious, equitable and binding international climate agreement or "at least get out of the way."

The joint statement, signed by the CAW and other groups, including the Council of Canadians, Canadian Union of Public Employees and Greenpeace, was released on November 28, which marked the first day of the 17th annual international climate negotiations taking place under the UN Framework Conference on Climate Change (UNFCCC). The conference involves over 190 nations and runs until December 9.

"There is no question that the planet is facing a serious climate change crisis that requires leadership from all national governments including our own," reads the statement. "Instead of positive efforts to confront the crisis in an equitable and morally acceptable way, we have witnessed Canadian government inaction and attempts to undermine climate change policy."

The statement highlights examples of Canada's dismal track record on climate change action under the Harper government, including:

- being the only country to weaken its national emissions reduction target after signing the Copenhagen Accord in 2009;
- being the only country to have ratified and then renounced its commitments under the Kyoto Protocol;
- lobbying against important climate policies in the European Union that penalize tar sands oil exports.

CAW President Ken Lewenza said the Harper government's total failure to address climate change (both at home and globally), and fully recognize its potentially damaging consequences, is indicative of a government that is fundamentally callous, uncaring and short-sighted.

"Whether it's about protecting our environment from irreversible damage, or preserving our fundamental rights as workers and citizens, this government's made it none of their business," Lewenza said. "This is a dangerous tact and it's forcing our country down an ideological path that the majority of Canadians simply don't agree with."

To read the full statement click here

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