Leona Aglukkaq attends her 1st UN climate change conference

Leona Aglukkaq, Canada's new environment minister, will be wading into international climate negotiations for the first time this week.

Canadian delegation seen as largely irrelevant by some watchers because of past inaction

Federal Environment Minister Leona Aglukkaq is in Warsaw, Poland, this week for a UN climate change conference. (Adrian Wyld/Canadian Press)

Leona Aglukkaq, Canada's new environment minister, will be wading into international climate negotiations for the first time this week.

Aglukkaq is in Warsaw, Poland, for ministerial meetings at the United Nation's Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

But according to one environmentalist, a new Canadian face won't change much at the 19th session of the UNFCCC.

"It seems to me really that the Canadian delegation here has become largely irrelevant," said Chistian Holz, the head of Climate Action Network Canada.

Holz said the reason for that is Canada's reputation for inaction on climate change. 

Aglukkaq told CBC News that Canada has done plenty to reduce down greenhouse gases. She pointed to her government's sector-by-sector approach, where emissions standards for light and heavy vehicles and coal-burning power plants have already been agreed on.

She also talked about Australia's decision to repeal its levy on greenhouse gases.

"Everyone has their own approach and we know a carbon tax would increase the price of everything in Canada," Aglukkaq said.

But Green Party leader Elizabeth May said that is the kind of statement that puts Canada in an ugly light.

"This is not where Canadians want to be. We have become, at UN climate meetings, the worst country in the room," she added.

May said that even she is met with derision when she attends these talks just because she is Canadian.

"Canada's profile in these international negotiations has fallen so low that we really are met with a wall of contempt," May told CBC News.

Details of a post-Kyoto deal will be discussed at the conference and countries hope to reach a final deal in 2015 in Paris.


To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

Become a CBC Member

Join the conversation  Create account

Already have an account?