History of Blocking
North America is home to two governments that have done the most to set back action on climate change: the United States and Canada.
The US remains the only developed country not to have ratified the Kyoto Protocol, the only international legal instrument with legally binding emission targets.
Worse, the US is proposing a non-binding system of pledges with no guarantee of either curbing climate change or doing it in a fair way.
The Wrong Direction
In a leaked communications memo (11 March 2010) the US has internally declared it will try to “reinforce the perception that the US is constructively engaged in UN negotiations in an effort to produce a global regime to combat climate change.” But its rhetoric of engagement is hard to square with the reality of its actions. In climate talks the US blocks discussion of the adequacy of emission reductions, the comparability of emission reductions and the raising of adequate climate finance.
Similarly Canada has recently announced it will not honor its obligation to a second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol and continues to exploit the ‘tar sands’ in Alberta, which have huge global warming potential.
Civil society groups are active in North America, holding their governments, and the corporations that have too much control to account. Key demands include:
- The United States ceases to undermine the current structure of international legal obligations by proposing its system of ‘pledge and review.’
- The United States and Canada agree to emissions reduction targets that reflect their historical responsibilities and are comparable to other countries’ efforts.
- The United States and Canada commit to providing the climate finance they owe under their legal and moral obligations, from public sources.
- Canada honor its legal obligation to commit to a second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol.
For the latest updates on North America and climate change please click here.
Some civil society assessments of US participation in the negotiations are available below:
- Assessment – An Inconvenient Truth: US Refuses to Negotiate (2011)
- Assessment – What Role for the US in UN Climate Talks (2010)
- Climate Justice Brief – The United States ( Esp ) ( Arabic )(2010)
You may be interested in the following sites: