For Immediate Release – November 30, 2010
B.C. government ‘blowing hot air’ at Cancun climate talks: Wilderness Committee
“I was concerned to read Minister of State for Climate John Yap’s editorial this morning saying B.C. is a model to emulate for the international community gathering at Cancun,” said Ben West, campaigner for the Wilderness Committee. UN climate negotiations got underway yesterday in Cancun, Mexico.
“Minister Yap is seriously misrepresenting B.C.’s record on climate change. Our province was the only one in Canada that saw emissions from industrial sources increase last year,” said West. The largest source of emissions in B.C. is automobile traffic. The provincial government has made funding highway expansion a priority as part of the provincial and federal Gateway Project.
“It has been said that budgets are policy without the rhetoric. Our government’s rhetoric has been lovely, but the truth of our climate agenda is much uglier, when you look at the billions being spent on highway construction and the ongoing subsidies to the oil and gas sector – this while public transit is under-funded,” said West.
Canada was awarded all three ‘Fossil of the Day’ awards by international environmental groups on the first day of the Cancun negotiations, due to the obstructionist role the Canadian government has played on the international stage in climate negotiations.
“The expansion of the tar sands and increased dirty oil exports are clearly driving Canadian trade policy, and this runs right over the desire of Canadians for responsible climate policy,” said West. “B.C. is actively supporting new oil supertanker traffic off our coast as well as oil pipeline construction and increased coal mining and exports. Is this really the model of climate policy Minister Yap thinks the world should adopt?”
Minister Yap’s editorial pointed to the role of cap and trade and carbon offsets as evidence of B.C.’s leadership role in addressing climate change.
“Putting a price on carbon was a baby step in the right direction but, as the focus shifts to cap and trade and offsets, it seems industry continues to set the agenda. We need actual reductions in greenhouse gases, whereas these market-based solutions give permits for industry to continue polluting. What the world really needs is to burn less fossil fuels and protect our forests.” said West. “Following B.C.’s big carbon footsteps would be the wrong way to go.”
Earlier this year a conference was held in Cochabamba, Bolivia to explore climate solutions from the perspective of the global south, taking into consideration the world’s poorest people who are already feeling the impacts of climate change.
“I would encourage everyone in Cancun to listen to the voices of the global south who are offering real ethical solutions, and not to be misled by Minister Yap and B.C.’s climate hypocrisy,” said West.
Ben West, Wilderness Committee, Healthy Communities Campaigner, 604-710-5340
The Wilderness Committee is Canada’s largest membership-based, citizen-funded wilderness preservation organization. We work for the preservation of Canadian and international wilderness through research and grassroots education. The Wilderness Committee works on the ground to achieve ecologically sustainable communities. We work only through lawful means.
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