While I’m experiencing my first day at COP 17 and struggle to figure out why the rooms are named after plants, materials and geographical locations and wonder why no one has provided me with a giant map of the Conference Centre, my email inbox filled up with rumors about Canada preparing to withdraw from the Kyoto Protocol next month.
I felt inspired by Christiana Figueres’ (Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change) opening remarks during the plenary reminding countries to reassure that they are committed to work towards a real deal quoting Nelson Mandela – “It seems impossible, until it is done.” Only a few minutes later it was confirmed that Canada plans to pull out of the Kyoto Protocol, the only legally binding emissions agreement, early next month. Peter Kent declared to the Canadian Press that he is coming into the negotiations ready “to play hardball with developing countries.” For some reason I thought it was those developing countries who should be playing hardball with developed countries.
Following these developments the day ended with the fossil of the day award. Both, First and Second Place were earned by Canada for failing to support a second commitment period and undermining the value of the Kyoto Protocol. Rounding out the awards, the United Kingdom received Third Place for helping to move tar sands oil into Europe.
Earlier last week Canadian Environment Minister Peter Kent said he hoped to win less fossils then his predecessors, he is not off to a very good start!