Greenpeace targets Canada at G8 environment summit
Protesters outside a gathering of G8 environment ministers in Germany on Fridaycited Canada as one of the world's worst polluters,and the receptionfor John Baird inside the conference wasn't much better.
The German hosts insisted no major decisions are expected at the three-day summit in Potsdam.
But they acknowledged Friday that European nations are targeting countries like Canada and the United States to make the hard decisions needed to address climate change in order to set an example for developing countries.
The meeting comes on the heels of the European Union's announcement two weeks ago that it would cut carbon emissions by 20 per cent from its 1990 levels by the year 2020.
The EU also pledged to cut even deeper into their own emissions if "other" nations matched their target.
"This is the hottest issue in international negotiations," German Environment Minister Sigmar Gabriel told reporters. "We know that the developing world is not accepting any reductions target or any target, not even voluntary targets in the international community."
The conference also includes representatives from developing nations such as Brazil and India.
New emissions targets within a month: Baird
In the midst of the meeting, Greenpeace activists invaded the grounds from the water using motorboats and demanded all nations cut emissions. The activists attempted to deliver a message to Baird, in which they called Canada the world's fifth largest climate killer.
"What we are demanding is that they set binding reduction targets for CO2 or greenhouse gas emissions by 2020 by 30 per cent," Jorg Feddern of Greenpeace told reporters.
The Tories have long rejected the Kyoto target of a six per cent emissions drop from 1990 levels by 2012.
Last month,the House of Commons voted161-113 to require the government to meet its Kyoto commitments. Once it ispassedby the Senate, the legislation gives the government 60 days to come up with a plan.
Baird said he would outline the Conservative government's greenhouse-gas policies at the conference and look ahead to new negotiationsthat go beyond the Kyoto agreement. He also reiterated the government would announce aggressive new emissions targets within a month.
"Kyoto gave us targets for the world and for Canada for what we could accomplish for 15 years," he said. "I think we can accomplish more than that. I think it will be essential.
"We need a long-term and a medium-term plan, but I think what Canadians want is what can we do in the short term."
During the conference, Baird will also have to defend Canada's position not to participate in the international carbonmarket, which allows countries to buy carbon credits to offset their greenhouse gas emissions.
Liberal Leader Stéphane Dion proposed a market-based plan Friday to cut carbon emissions by targeting industries that emit the most greenhouse gases, capping total emissions by company and charging those that exceed them.