During the last few weeks, the chances of a binding deal in Copenhagen were looking progressively dimmer, in large part due to Canada's obstructive attitude on the issue. However, as the Commenwealth nations, including Canada, announced that they are seeking a legally binding international agreement on greenhouse gas reductions in Copenhagen, chances for success are looking brighter.
Finally, in this past week, Canada has been forced to realize the magnitude of Copenhagen. It was only after the Chinese Premier, Wan Jiabao, and US President Obama, announced that they would be attending the conference, that Stephen Harper announced he would do so. Furthermore, although claiming recently that Copenhagen would not succeed in producing a treaty or its foundations, Canada has now signed a document of a completely opposite message.
This reversal in Canada's position would seem to be the result of outside pressures. Canada has been vilified the world over due to our reticent stance on climate change. Ostensibly, our stance was based on the unwillingness of developing countries to reduce emissions. This line of argument is now difficult to maintain. China has pledged to reduce carbon intensity, India has committed itself to reducing absolute emissions, and the Commonwealth has issued today's announcement. In light of these actions, where are these developing nations refusing to reduce emissions?
It ended up that we were the only country that would actually be impeding Copenhagen. It was a very awkward situation for Prime Minister Harper, one that has now forced him on a more environmentally friendly path. However, there is still a lot more he needs to do, from working hard at Copenhagen to releasing ambitious national targets and strategies to attain these.
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