Countdown to Copenhagen: After Blocking Progress at Poznan Climate Talks, Canada Must Change Course

Dec. 13, 2008

POZNAN, Poland - In the wake of a disappointing outcome at the UN climate talks here this week, Canadian environmentalists said that Canada must urgently re-think its reluctance to take strong action on global warming.

Poznan was to be a critical stepping stone on the road to Copenhagen, where countries have promised to meet next December to renew the Kyoto Protocol. "But too little  progress was made here - and Canada has to accept a significant part of the blame for its role in delaying the process," said Graham Saul, Climate Action Network Canada-Réseau Action Climat.

Indeed, Canada earned the "Colossal Fossil" award for being the most obstructive country in these talks. Canada also placed next to last in an international comparison of countries' climate change performance.

"The challenge now is to accelerate climate negotiations through the coming year to ensure that - unlike Poznan - Copenhagen is an unqualified success," said Dale Marshall, David Suzuki Foundation. "Canadians are calling for their government to be a leader in tackling global warming - but we saw the opposite here in Poznan."

"Canada's current emissions target falls far short of what the science demands, and the government has so far failed to come to the table with meaningful support for climate action in poorer countries," said Matthew Bramley, Pembina Institute. "The government must fix both these problems if Canada is to be part of the solution one year from now in Copenhagen."

Steven Guilbeault of Équiterre said that success in these negotiations depends on the richest nations in the world showing far more leadership than they have to date.

"While the developing nations came to Poznan prepared to negotiate, industrialized countries often met their initiatives with silence," he said. "So while the Poznan meeting did produce a mandate to move into full negotiations next year, we won't succeed in those negotiations until countries like Canada show that they're willing to do their fair share."

"Canada needs to get serious about its 2020 target," said Dave Martin of Greenpeace. "Industrialized countries have to reduce greenhouse gas emissions at least 25% below 1990 in 2020 in order to prevent a climate disaster. The Harper government has continued to push its totally inadequate 3% reduction target. Canadians expect their government to lead to or get out of the way."

One bright spot in the talks was an agreement to make the Adaptation Fund, which will finance adaptation to climate change in developing countries, operational.

"It's a small example, but it shows the potential when the negotiating countries get onto the same page," said Rosa Kouri of the Canadian Youth Climate Coalition. "We need to see a lot more of that this year - more effort, more commitment, and more reason to be optimistic coming into Copenhagen."

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For more information:

Dale Marshall, David Suzuki Foundation,, 613-302-9913
Matthew Bramley, Pembina Institute,, +48-798-620-775
Graham Saul, Climate Action Network Canada-Réseau Action Climat,, +48-783-227-705
Steven Guilbeault, Équiterre, +48-693-263-743
David Martin, Greenpeace Canada, +48-500-878-359
Rosa Kouri, Canadian Youth Climate Coalition,
Joy Kennedy, United Church of Canada,
Stephen Hazell, Sierra Club Canada,, 613-724-1908
Kristen Ostling, David Suzuki Foundation,, +48-665-703-645 and 613-799-5987


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