Yes, I will, Mr. Chair. Thank you very much.
With me is Mr. David McGovern, who is the assistant deputy minister, international affairs branch in the Department of the Environment, and Mark Berman and Normand Tremblay, who were also part of the team at the conference in Bali and were negotiators in various sessions.
Thank you for the invitation to come and report to you on aspects of the climate change conference in Bali in the first half of December. The minister was attending the high-level segment of that conference, and my colleagues and others were throughout the conference prior to the high-level segment.
was assisted in these negotiations by a delegation that in fact comprised officials from across the government—the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, Natural Resources, CIDA, and others.
In addition, and the delegation were fortunate to receive advice and assistance from four advisers at the COP—l'honorable Pierre-Marc Johnson; Mary Simon, presidente de l'Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami; Ian Morton, founder of the Clean Air Foundation; and Elizabeth Dowdeswell, former executive director of the United Nations Environment Program.
As all members of the committee know, the conference received enormous worldwide attention. It was the culmination of a year of tremendous public and media focus on international climate change negotiations, and of course it really kicked off what will now be another intensive two-year process.
One of the events over the last year leading up to the conference was the UN Secretary General's high-level meeting on climate change at which the Prime Minister participated. He laid out the principles underlying Canada's approach to what we hoped would be a consensus at the Bali conference, referring to a balanced approach among the following: environmental protection and economic feasibility and the need to avoid unduly burdening the growth of any single country; a long-term focus, so that there would be a new international framework setting the scale; timing of global emissions reduction through to 2050; and a centrepiece on technology, the development and deployment of new and better technologies, including institutional mechanisms and measures to improve the environment for private sector investment as well as direct funding to aid broad-based technology transfer.
Another principle was the inclusion of all major emitters, and also a framework that would be flexible and able to accommodate a variety of commitments as well as multi-stage efforts by countries and sectors.
As I said, Mr. Chair, these principles formed the basis of our approach as a delegation in Bali.
We sought to ensure that any new negotiating process included participation of all major emitters. It is clear that the ultimate objective of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change cannot be realized through the reductions of a small number of countries alone, essential as those are. Under the current protocol, only developed-country parties representing a mere 30% of global emissions are required to reduce emissions. We believe that real and effective action will ultimately be required by all major emitters, such as the United States, China, India, and others.
We worked to establish a new negotiating process under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. We believed it had to have a clear mandate and set timeframes. We're glad to say—and the committee knows—that we arrived at a consensus by all parties to develop a new global agreement on climate change that is comprehensive and effective and that would represent a significant step forward.
We wanted to ensure a common end date for the two sets of negotiations that would be going on: the ongoing negotiations by Kyoto Protocol countries, and a new and broader process for all parties under the convention.
For the recommendations coming out of these two negotiations, to be able to inform a new, comprehensive agreement, it was essential that there be the same end date. That way, any commitments under one process would be undertaken with full understanding of what might be agreed to under the other.
We wanted to ensure that the review of the Kyoto Protocol required by the rules of the protocol in 2008 would be substantive. It's important that this mandated review look not only at emissions reductions under the protocol to date--in other words, the performance of parties--but also at the mechanisms and machinery of the protocol itself and at how effective that has been.
Finally, we wanted, at the Bali conference, to operationalize an adaptation fund with appropriate governance. The fund was originally established in 2001 as a voluntary fund under the protocol to support on-the-ground projects. Prior to Bali, the fund had not been operationalized, and getting the fund up and running in Bali was seen as an important and significant priority for the least-developed and small island states.
Given the time available, Chair and committee members, I will quickly refer to a fairly heavy program of bilateral meetings, including meetings with the UN Secretary General on our mutual perspectives on a post-2012 agreement, and also meetings with a number of other countries that were at the conference.
Canada participates regularly in a group of countries known as the umbrella group, which is a useful forum for discussing agenda items and possible common positions. Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, the United States, Norway, Iceland, Kazakhstan, Russia, and the Ukraine are members of the umbrella group, and it is one of the teams, if you like, of countries that meet, and meet with each other to move the negotiations forward.
Our negotiators are often asked in these meetings to chair various negotiating or contact groups in Bali. Individual Canadian negotiators were asked to facilitate a number of negotiations, including those related to compliance with the protocol; those related to a particular amendment to allow Belarus into the protocol; those related to operationalization of the adaptation fund; and those related to Annex I national reporting.
I'll state for the record that in our view, the key outcomes of the conference included the launch of a formal negotiating process to develop the post-2012 agreement, the Bali action plan.
Secondly, the action plan, which will have a clear agenda and work plan, will be based on the four building blocks that were sought in advance: mitigation, adaptation, technology, and financing.
Guided by the need for deep reductions in global emissions, this new process will define mitigation commitments by developed countries and require nationally appropriate mitigation actions by developing countries in a measurable, reportable, and verifiable manner. And we'd be pleased to go into that in detail if the committee wished.
Third, there was the agreement to conclude negotiations of new commitments for developed countries under the protocol by 2009, thus concluding, in parallel with and feeding into, the broader post-2012 agreement.
And finally, it includes the operationalization of the adaptation fund.
The Bali conference ended up being a positive start to what I've suggested is going to be an intense and challenging two years of negotiations.
Under the auspices of the United Nations there will be two sets of parallel meetings every three to four months in 2008-2009 under both the new negotiations process as well as the ongoing Kyoto Protocol process. The first meetings are tentatively scheduled for April 2008. Ministers will meet again for the conference of the parties, number 14, in Poznan, Poland, in December of this year, and negotiations will continue on both tracks throughout 2009, with the goal of coming together in a new global agreement at the 15th conference of the parties, in Copenhagen in 2009.
My colleagues and I would be pleased to elaborate if we can.
Members of the committee, thank you for inviting me to tell the Bali story from my perspective as a member of the Canadian youth delegation to COP 13.
In 2006, as the government betrayed its international Kyoto obligations and cancelled existing climate change programs, youth representatives from more than 45 Canadian business, labour, and environmental organizations gathered in Toronto to create the Canadian Youth Climate Coalition. In December 2007 the CYCC assembled a team of 32 young Canadians hailing from different backgrounds and interests, united in our resolve to face the biggest threat to human kind: climate change.
The Canadian youth delegation to Bali was well received at the conference. As part of the international youth presence at COP 13, we contributed to an intervention on article 6 concerning education and a presentation at the high-level plenary session. CYD members met with the NDP environment critic, Nathan Cullen, the Bloc Québécois environment critic, Bernard Bigras, the Liberal leader, Stéphane Dion, several NGO representatives, the environment ministers of Quebec, Ontario, Alberta, the United Kingdom, and others.
Absent from our discussion table was Minister John Baird, the only representative who refused the CYD meeting, unlike his predecessors. The minister's office was uninterested in input from Canadian youth for the duration of the conference, and abandoned basic standards of transparency, openness, and civility. They even refused to receive a petition signed by more than 60,000 Canadians.
We travelled to Bali not simply to protest injustice, but to work with our government for our country and the world on an issue directly concerning our future. This government's belligerent attitude affects more than its treatment of the CYD. While past efforts were insufficient, our nation was once a respected contributor to international efforts to fight climate change. In Bali, the question most asked of myself and other CYD members was what happened to Canada? Former allies in the fight against climate change were shaken by our government's position.
Canada was one of the last countries to sign on to the Bali road map, and its reluctance to do so until the bitter end underscores a lack of leadership on the part of this government. The Harper government's position was labelled “immoral” by a delegate from Bangladesh, “uncooperative” by a delegate from China, “obstructionist” by a German delegate, and the UN's top diplomat called our stance “hypocritical”. The absence of our environment minister at important events was a stain on this government's performance at COP 13. Minister Baird disrespected an international audience by choosing not to attend his own presentation of Canada's new “Turning the Corner” plan. Some of the minister's personal behaviour, such as shouting at the founder of a major international NGO, was publicly embarrassing to Canada.
The CYD is relieved the international community agreed to negotiate a post-2012 framework before 2009 in order to hopefully solve the global climate crisis. However, as a result of this government's inaction, this agreement is weak in targets and timelines. We noted three major constants in this government's behaviour in Bali: first, a disregard for democracy, basic rights, and liberties; second, a disregard for the international process; third, a weak commitment to fight climate change to ensure a safe and sustainable future.
In Bali, the Canadian youth delegation pledged to our government: this will follow you home. I'm here to notify you of the resolve of thousands of Canadian youth to hold this government accountable for its failures in Bali.
The CYD submits the following three recommendations to the committee to undo the damage done in Bali by Minister Baird and the Harper government.
First, Canada needs to clean up its act at home. The government must immediately implement emission reductions consistent with international efforts to prevent a rise of two degrees Celsius in the global temperature. As much as we hem and haw, the science is clear. This means we must eliminate fossil fuels as the basis of our economy, and do so in my lifetime. The longer we wait, the more it will cost us all.
Secondly, the Canadian government should include youth in discussions on climate change on an ongoing basis.
Finally, the committee should produce a report to explain this government's failure in Bali, with particular focus on Minister Baird's demonstrated lack of commitment to constructive dialogue on climate change.
I'm privileged to have participated in the Bali conference, while I deeply regret the role our government played there. Nevertheless, I do hope every member of this committee will engage with us to correct this government's course on a matter of vital importance to our future.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I'll be trying to address some of the broader issues around Bali and what it actually delivered, instead of specifically addressing issues from Canada—at least in my intervention. I will talk about the implications for Canada, however, and I'll be glad to answer any questions about Canada and Bali, should you so choose.
First of all, was Bali a success? If I may bring in a baseball analogy here, while the final agreement reached at Bali was far from a home run, neither was it a strikeout: I guess I would categorize it as a bunt single. The world is on base in addressing climate change, but barely. We are now entering into the last innings of this critical global challenge.
What did it achieve? Well, let's not overlook some of the extremely useful decisions reached on avoiding deforestation, some progress on technology transfer, and an important agreement on the operation of the innovative adaptation fund.
On the post-2012 issue, decisions were reached that established a road map for countries to hopefully reach a decision on new targets by late 2009 in Copenhagen. But a clear guide, particularly for major developing economies, would have been preferable.
What Bali didn't achieve, unfortunately, was an agreement around what should be the global target in reaching the convention's ultimate objective. I well recognize and I totally agree with what was stated before by the Canadian government concerning the base expectations of Bali, that those were delivered, but I think it was also becoming increasingly critical that the global community set its sights on a global objective.
I well recognize that achieving such a goal would have been an enormous accomplishment, but I am also increasingly of the view that the global community must set its sights on such an objective if we are to make any headway in the negotiations over the next two years.
Besides the drawing up of the terms of reference for developed and developing countries' mitigation efforts for post-2012, probably the most contentious issue in the negotiations was the reference to how much reduction would be required by developed countries to avoid the scenario of global temperature rising more than two degrees Celsius.
The IPCC did not.... We have to be clear about this. I'm a leading author with the IPCC, and I know what it does and what it does not do. It does not make recommendations; it reports on what the literature says. What it reported was that if we want to avoid a two degrees Celsius rise, OECD countries need to reduce their emissions between 25% and 40% from 1990 levels by 2020. But—and this was the interesting omission from the discussions—it also means that major developing countries need to require a significant deviation from business-as-usual scenarios by that same date.
The real question is, why are we now so focused on two degrees? Could we not, if not thrive, at least cope in a world three degrees warmer, which even though it would still call for significant reductions over the next few decades would give us considerably more room to make the enormous transitions that are required?
The problem is the other side of the IPCC findings, the synthesis report that concludes that even under a two-degree scenario, we're going to see some very real changes in the global ecosystem. Under a three- to three-and-a-half-degree scenario, it becomes almost fully apocalyptic. Fully 40% to 70%—let me repeat, 70%—of the world's species could be at risk of extinction.
If there were ever a case of being stuck between a rock and a hard place, this is it, especially for Canada. On the one hand, we stand to be one of the countries most impacted by climate change, with potentially disastrous consequences for our northern cities and ecosystems; yet we have one of the most carbon-intractable economies in place amongst OECD countries.
The way ahead for Canada? First of all, I was heartened by the comments of the Prime Minister in his Christmas-time interview with the CBC. He states that the scientific evidence is compelling, that it will carry costs and responsibilities for Canada, and that we must show leadership while also clearly calling for a global response that includes all the world's major economies.
Secondly, we must not only accelerate the implementation of the current plan, but follow up on the recommendations of the national round table on the need for significant carbon pricing, by elaborating now how Canada will be able to meet its interim target of 20% reductions from 2006 levels.
The government also needs to offer options that would see further reductions by 2020, including adjusting the base year to 1990, and more in line with where the science now compels us.
Third, the government should support a two degrees Centigrade global target, and this would require a developed country range of 25% to 40%, while also making it clear that commensurate actions by major developing countries, at the very least, begin to take on limitation targets starting in 2020.
Fourth, I don't think we can underestimate the extent to which Canada's perceived legitimacy in the post-2012 negotiations are undermined by our failure to clarify how we plan to maintain our status as a Kyoto party while not meeting our mitigation commitments under the protocol.
Will Canada submit to the non-compliance provisions set in the protocol? If yes, we should say so. If no, then frankly we should show respect for the international process and notify the government's intent to withdraw Canada from the protocol.
I'll leave it at that, Mr. Chair. Thank you very much.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
My name is Chris Henderson. I'm here in my capacity as managing director of the EXCEL Partnership. I'm going to do three things: explain to you what the EXCEL Partnership is, tell you what the view of this partnership is relative to Bali, and suggest what our views are in terms of where we go from here.
EXCEL is an acronym. It stands for “excellence in corporate environmental leadership”. It's a business body. It consists of companies like Alcan, B.C. Hydro, Dofasco, EnCana, RBC, Teknion, Suncor, DuPont, and others.
Membership in this group is not automatic. It only goes to sustainability leaders.
EXCEL is affiliated with the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, the global body for business and sustainability around the world. You get to be a member of EXCEL if you want to, as a company, and latterly if you meet certain performance targets for your environment and sustainability programs.
I note on the question of climate change, if you look at the carbon disclosure initiative, the top performers, in terms of their disclosure and their liabilities and action, are members of the EXCEL Partnership. We don't come before you, though, as a lobby group. We are distinctly not a lobbying group.
EXCEL was started over a decade ago as a learning partnership. Our members meet regularly, we learn how we will deal with the challenges of environment and sustainability and the opportunities inherent in them, and do that in a collaborative way across business sectors. We have companies from 10 or 12 different business sectors.
We were asked to come before the committee in our relationship with the World Business Council for Sustainable Development.
When we look at Bali—and some of our companies were at Bali—I'm going to put a business lens on this. I'll leave the commentary on the specific nature of the protocol and the negotiations to others who are more qualified. There are three things in Bali that we feel have some potential, but I agree with the analogy that John Drexhage made: it's very early days, and the progress is limited.
First, we do like the idea of global sectoral targets. The idea of being able to compete across economies is a key issue for Canadian companies. This does not obviate Canadian regulatory action, but we do like the idea of moving to global sectoral targets.
Second, we do think it is positive that the other major actors who are not signatories to the agreements in terms of their obligations, like the U.S. and major developing countries being on board, is important, so the regime of negotiation post-2012 we endorse.
We were hopeful there would be more clarity related to the creation of a more formal global carbon market, but were disappointed in that respect. There are still too many uncertainties.
But the most important thing I'd like to share with you is that our concern, from a business standpoint, is there is just simply too much short- and long-term uncertainty on this question in Canada.
The companies that are EXCEL members have been acting on climate change, and have done for decades in some cases. We think three things should be put before the committee and before Parliament.
One, we do expect, as you well know, that we'll see some regulatory provisions come forward by the government over the next few months. We welcome those. There are different views companies have on the specific ways that affect them. However, we think we need both a short-term regulatory environment and a long-term regulatory approach or a policy approach that really gets to the heart of capital stock investment and how we move to a technology platform that reflects the carbon realities we face. We don't see where the policy environment is to play with that in Canada at this point. We don't know how to.
Secondly, if we're going to deal with climate change effectively, the validity of a carbon market under a regulatory platform with offset trading and other mechanisms is highly useful. It's not going to be easy to do this. It's going to be complex, time-consuming, and costly.
So how are we going to design it? At one time the process of designing climate change action in Canada was a real interactive process between the Government of Canada and the private sector and NGOs and other actors out there. It isn't now. We don't know how we're going to design a trading regime. We don't know how baseline inventories will be set, we don't know how GHG protocols will be established. So we're going to design a whole economy, and yet perhaps the greatest repository of knowledge in this country of designing any market mechanisms, the private sector, isn't directly inputting into that process because we don't know what the process is. We need a process that's transparent and open and allows players to create that economy.
Finally, we have put before the committee and Parliament that we need to emphasize innovation. Regardless of the targets we have in the short term, regardless of the targets we're going to need in the long term, they'll be tough to get to. We can't get there without having an innovation approach that is not just technological, it's innovation and thinking how the government, industry, and other partnerships work, and how we deal with good ideas to deal with climate change and carbon emissions.
Thank you for your time, Mr. Chairman. I'd just emphasize those three points.
There are three points I'd make in response to your question, briefly.
Should there be a set price for carbon? The price of carbon you can do two ways: you can set a price for carbon, or create a demand for carbon offsets on the basis of a regulatory regime.
Again, my third point was innovation. Therefore, most businesses and most members of the EXCEL Partnership like the idea of a market-based carbon instrument but understand that you have to drive that to some regulatory basis. I also said there needs to be a short term and a long term. So read into that that we have to make a transition from an initial set of regulations, and over time you're going to strengthen those.
The challenge for business obviously has been in a competitive context: how do you do that across economies, especially with other countries? That's why some aspects of the sectoral targets in the Bali discussions were useful. So we do need a carbon market, and we do need a market to drive carbon offsets. I would suggest that pegging a price is not the most effective way. It's not as innovative as you would get if you created a demand for carbon offsets by having some manner of regulatory regime that changes over time and really recognizes that capital stock investment has to take place.
In terms of the trading regime, and if we don't do this, do we have a barrier to trade relative to other economies that are acting under the protocol, such as in Europe, I don't think so, in the short term. I can't see how it will evolve. But the reality is that businesses would rather have clarity for capital investment, and business is global; therefore, business would rather have us keep pace with a global movement to act, rather than stand back.
So I would say an open market is better, with more innovation, and drive it with the regimes that you create. Just make sure that they recognize competitive realities too.