michael martin zoe caron

Yesterday’s online conversation with Canada’s Chief Negotiator, Mr Michael Martin. Read below for both the actual and the between-the-lines versions of this exchange. If you have questions you would like to ask him, email .

The questions:

  1. What was Canada aiming to achieve with the intervention made in the Finance sub-committee [yesterday]?
  2. What is the primary objective for the Canadian delegation this week?
  3. Is the Canadian delegation going to (or want to) give the chair/facilitators a mandate to revise the text?



Governments have before them (in the aforementioned LCA session) a negotiating text: a framework of what the next step after, or within, the Kyoto Protocol will be. This document is public and available for download here.

(Note: this text appears to only currently be available in English. Don’t worry though – I hear that English is becoming the universal language anyway. The United Nations is probably testing the waters for a United Language – and where better than to test it then in practice!)

The chair who is running the LCA session has also written a personal note to set the tone for the talks. (Note: Also only in English, in true United Language fashion).

You may also… Wait for it…  Watch the web-cast LIVE of the UN negotiations. (!!!)

(Warning: This may bring feelings of over-stimulation. Who needs Wii when you have Yvo de Boer?)

Bon, C'est BonI 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: (more…)

According to some, it is not only economically feasible, it’s economically prosperous.

That is, according to a study released by The Pembina Institute and the David Suzuki Foundation in December, 2008. The study shows that it is possible for Canada to make 25 emission cuts below 1990 levels by 2020, and still be doing quite well economically. (Read the press release here.) The science recommends a 25 to 40% cut below 1990, while Canada’s current target is 3% below 1990. (more…)

The most common question I’ve been asked since returning to Halifax from the Bonn climate talks, which ended last Friday, is, “What was the most inspirational thing that happened?”

The United Kingdom’s emissions are dropping year by year. China has committed $600 billion into green technology. There were 100 passionate young people present, ensuring the presence of another generation was seen and heard. The United States is fully participating at the negotiating table. Rich and polluting countries support the science that a 25 to 40% emission cut below 1990 levels by 2020 is completely necessary, and that we may need to go even farther.Picture 1

Inspirational notes aside, the resounding feeling coming away from the talks, is the deep rumbling craving for one simple attribute: Ambition.

Don’t get me wrong, the Bonn climate talks certainly moved forwards – like how my little sister moves forwards out of bed to the kitchen for breakfast at 6am. I want the negotiators to rush to their United Nations meeting desks with an ambitious level of tenacity, focus, and recognition of opportunity – because, the climate knows, we need it.

What is it that is missing? How can a driving desire for success be created? Is there a deeper level of emotion that needs unearthing? Do governments crave praise? Support? Love? Good will? Public demand? Is there more incentive needed?  I’ve adopted Canada’s negotiators. And I’m fiercely concerned about our country’s position based on the past 2 weeks.

Here’s why: (more…)

Canada has committed to emission reductions at home of 2.7% below 1990 levels by the year 2020. (Or 20% below 2006 levels by 2020 as the government phrases it). Remember that we committed years ago to 6% below 1990 level target by the year 2012 via the Kyoto Protocol.

I am confident that the government recognizes the scientific advice of achieving 25 to 40% emission reductions globally below 1990 levels by 2020. Yet our target doesn’t seem to match up. (more…)

In a meeting Wednesday night with Canada’s lead climate negotiator, Mr. Michael Martin said this to me as he explained the position of the Canadian government. Background information: Negotiating domestic and international targets is precisely why these United Nations conferences exist.

When I asked our lead negotiator, Mr. Michael Martin, to explain Canada’s position further, this was what he said: (more…)

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