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We hear it all the time. We have to stop global warming, or the planet is in big trouble.
And yet, it seems nothing is getting done. In fact, an international group of climate scientists recently put out a new study. And you know what it says?
Over the past nine years, greenhouse gases have gone up by twenty-nine per cent. Of course, everything was supposed to change in 1997, with the Kyoto Accord. More than one hundred and eighty countries signed it, including Canada.
The goal was to cut overall emissions by five-point-two per cent from 1990 levels, and do it by 2012. In Canada's case, we promised to cut our emissions even more - by six per cent.
So, how did we do? Not even close.
In fact, when the Liberals were in power, our greenhouse gases went up more than twenty-five per cent. And now, with the Conservatives, the idea of using 1990 as a baseline year is gone. The Conservatives are promising to make cuts - twenty per cent by 2020 - but here's the key. They plan to do it from 2006 levels.
Canada's been sharply criticized for that, but the Prime Minister stands by his plan. Of course, another big factor is the world's two largest polluters - China and the United States - never signed Kyoto, and it expires in 2012. So now, the world is trying for a new deal at a UN conference in Copenhagen next week.
To talk about it, we brought in George Monbiot, a writer for The Guardian who is well known for his environmental and political activism.