It's Monday, December 7th.
Today marks the opening of the global climate-change summit in Copenhagen.
Currently, this means that countries around the world will soon learn what bold new proposals to save the earth they can ignore.
This is The Current.
Road to Copenhagen
It has indeed been a long and winding road to Copenhagen, where the United Nations' climate change conference opened today. It's the 15th Conference of the Parties or COP 15, as its known in climate circles.
Twelve years ago this month, COP 3 resulted in the Kyoto Protocol. Kyoto called for significant reductions in global greenhouse gas emissions by 2010. Instead, global greenhouse gas emissions hit record levels last year and are now rising at a faster rate than ever. Officially, the goal of the Copenhagen summit is to sign a successor to the Kyoto Protocol. But officials all over the world have been tamping down expectations for weeks.
We wanted to take a look this morning on how we got to Copenhagen, so we began at the world's first major climate change conference ... the Toronto Conference on the Changing Atmosphere in 1988. Federal Green Party leader Elizabeth May was one of the organizers of the conference. At the time she was a Senior Policy Advisor to Progressive Conservative Tom MacMillan, Brian Mulroney's Environment Minister.
The 1988 conference in Toronto wasn't aiming to create a binding climate treaty. But as Elizabeth May recalls, it did result in a historic consensus statement. The goal -- reducing global greenhouse gas emissions to 20 per cent below 1988 levels -- became known as the Toronto Target. No government was bound by it officially. But many of them did express a commitment to action. We heard from Canada's Environment Minster Tom MacMillan speaking at the close of the conference 21 years ago.
Despite the disappointment at what didn't come from the 1988 conference in Toronto, there was still a lot of optimism by the time the much-hyped Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro rolled around in 1992. David MacDonald was a Conservative MP in Brian Mulroney's Government. He was at the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio and we heard from him.
Road to Copenhagen - Stewart
After Rio, the next major stop on the long and winding road to Copenhagen ... was Kyoto, Japan in 1997. Christine Stewart was Canada's Environment Minister at the time ... in the cabinet of Liberal Prime Minister Jean Chretien. She led the delegation to Kyoto. And she signed the Kyoto Protocol on behalf of Canada. It was -- once again -- a time of hope and promise. But she says it was also -- once again -- ultimately disappointing. Christine Stewart was in our Toronto studio.
Taser Talk Tape
For years, the company that produces the stun gun known as the Taser has said that the electrical charge from the gun will incapacitate -- but not damage -- the heart. An American jury thought otherwise. And for the first time, Taser International lost a case of product liability.
Then, in October, Taser International put out a new Training Directive. It told police to stop aiming for the chest and lower their aim to the abdomen. We heard from Rick Smith, Taser International's CEO, with how he explained the directive in a regularly scheduled investors' conference call, the week after the new directive was issued. He was on speaker phone.
Sandra Bartlett is a reporter with CBC Radio and she joined Anna Maria in studio to share her findings on this story.
We continue our on-going series Work In Progress this morning by introducing you to a man named Matthew Stewart. By his own admission, he was woefully ill-prepared for the world of management consulting. He didn't have a business degree. He wasn't much interested in business. And the closest he had come to running one - - was a series of summer jobs in what he calls "the less appetizing ends" of the fast-food industry.
But none of that seemed to matter... he became a principal and founding partner of a consulting firm that -- at its peak -- grew to 600 employees. And he started handing out advice -- very expensive advice -- to people with way more business experience than he had.
Matthew Stewart has since left the field of management consulting. And he's written a book called, The Management Myth: Why the Experts Keep Getting it Wrong. It's about his slow realization that the entire industry might be more like a house of cards ... a game that's played out all over the world every day... even on these very airwaves.