No exceptions for major polluters, says Baird before Bali summit
All major polluters must pull their weight in reducing greenhouse gas emissions, Environment Minister John Baird said Thursday, outlining the federal government's positionin advance ofnext month'sUN climate-change talks in Bali.
Baird told a parliamentary environmental committee that Canada's bottom line in pushing for a new climate-change agreement for 2009 is that "everyone be on board."
"It is simply unconscionable to think that only the [developed] countries can do the job themselves. We must get the major emitters on board. It's got to include the United States, China and India," he told MPs.
"It's because we believe in the science and we can't act alone."
Bairdsaid there was no point for Canada to commit to reducing greenhouse gas emissions unless major emitters like China and India also follow suit.
China and India were exempt from the emissions reductions targets outlined in the Kyoto Protocol, the last major climate-change agreement, because they were developing economies.
Baird took the same position as Prime Minister Stephen Harper during last week's meeting of Commonwealth leaders in Uganda. Harper was criticized behind the scenes during the Commonwealth talks for taking on what critics say was a potentially damaging all-or-nothing attitude.
International leaders attending the UN Climate Change Conference in Bali, which begins on Dec. 3,hope to forge a new deal to replace the Kyoto pact, which expires in 2012.
Baird and a team of advisers will represent the Canadian delegation at the Bali talks, but unlike in the past, members of the three opposition parties will not be brought along by the government.
Nevertheless, Liberal Leader Stéphane Dion said he will fly to Bali on his own to participate in the summit, using Liberal resources.
Baird said last week the parties were not being taken along to avoid a partisan debate at the conference.
With files from the Canadian Press