I emailed Canada’s Chief Negotiator Michael Martin this morning to check in on the United Nations climate change discussions happening this week in Bonn, Germany. He soothed my heart by responding immediately from his BlackBerry amidst the main LCA session.
(LCA stands for Long-term Cooperative Action — or, more descriptively, Leaders Can’t-get-enough Airtime — or, more solution-oriented, Lend Canada Advice — or, depending on the day, Let’s Clap for the Americans.)
We’re heading into five days of climate talks. Here’s where we left off, and where we need to go:
>> Where did we leave off at the last climate negotiations? <<
1. Canada saying that it is “not here to negotiate domestic targets”
Yes, the point of these conferences is, indeed, to negotiate domestic targets. But it’s easy to miss a memo these days, and telegrams are often lost in the mail. Spare the government some blame for a change.
2. Canada has the lowest emission reduction targets of all rich, industrialized countries
(Fancy mathematicians work for the government. Take our 2012 target of 6% below 1990 emission levels. Double the time frame, half the target, add 16 years and subtract the ambition: A 2020 target of 3% below 2006 levels.
It’s like when you owe your friend $60 by Friday because she bought you front seat in a seasons series of Lady GaGa tickets. Then you turn around and say, “Actually, I am preeeetty sure owe you $30 and not until the end of the year because Poker Face just wasn’t up to my standards. You *know* I haven’t liked Lady GaGa ever since that acoustic version anyways. Obvi. Who’s in for a Jonas Brothers concert next week instead?!?”)
3. Canada’s delegation is full of very talented, hard-working, dedicated, and kind people
4. Canada’s Lead Negotiator, Michael Martin, is a very friendly and photogenic man
(Who, if we all remember correctly, let me sit with the government team at the official UN tables without fear that I would jump across the table and sing profanity into the microphone for every country from Algeria to Zimbabwe to hear. You can’t get much friendlier than that.)
>> What are we looking for this time? <<
1. A big statement along the lines of, “Yes, we will negotiate our domestic targets to the level that the science recommends.”
(Scientists recommend 2020 targets of 25-40% emission cuts below 1990 levels. Canada agrees that, yes, this is what the world needs to achieve. But, so far, has its reasons for Canada not being one of those countries in that world. We’d like to, how do we say it…. Be fair.)
2. A little statement along the lines of “Ok, ok… We admit it. We only came for the mid-night target limbo dance sessions with Japan: How Low Can You Go.
(Japan has almost as excruciatingly painfully low-ambition national emission targets. So far, Canada holds the reigning “We’re Still in Limbo, Baby!” title.)
In all seriousness, I look forward to connecting with our Lead Negotiator on a daily basis. Please comment here, on Twitter, or email (email@example.com) in your questions.
Bonn, c’est bon? We’ll have to see.