Sierra Club Blog Posts

This page shows a collection of all of Sierra Club Canada's blog posts, shown in chronological order. To view the full post, click on its title.

What's going on behind the scenes

In my short time at Sierra Club Canada, I've noticed and been a part of a number of changes here.  On a personal note, I went from being an intern to Campaign Coordinator.  Where before I found myself in largely a learning role, I now handle some more responsibility (though I still have a lot to learn) and am actively involved in a couple of different campaigns - namely waste diversion and water.

From the time I started in September until December, the focus was on transitioning toward being a more responsive, more modern organization.  This meant not just a new website, but also a new approach to how we engage with you and Canadian society more generally.

To that end, I'd like to quickly emphasize a couple of ways in which we are moving forward. ... Read more »

2 years, 2 weeks, and 12 paragraphs

Delegates from over 180 countries stood and applauded.  UNFCCC Executive Secretary Yvo de Boer said, “This is a real breakthrough, a real opportunity for the international community to successfully fight climate change.”  This was the reaction from two years ago following the conclusion of COP 13 in Bali, Indonesia.

From the Bali conference, came the “Bali roadmap,” which was to lay the foundations for a future international agreement on climate change.  To further add impetus, COP 15 in Copenhagen was set as a deadline to get a deal finalized.

Over those two years, representatives from countries around the world convened periodically at a number of UNFCCC meetings to talk and negotiate in preparation for COP 15.

Then came the big show.  There were thousands of protesters, hundreds of arrests, thousands of delegates, and over a hundred world leaders present. 

Denmark seemed overwhelmed.  So too did the UNFCCC.... Read more »

Climate Action Network Canada Response to "Copenhagen Accord"

"The job is not done.

The Copenhagen Accord is not ambitious, it is not fair and it is not binding.

This agreement has huge loopholes and gaps.  The goals for reducing pollution keep us on a path that science says leads to catastrophic warming.

The financing in this deal to help developing countries confront a crisis not of their making amounts to less than the subsidies nations serve up to the fossil fuel industry.

It is essential that countries work to finalise a strong agreement in the next 6 months.   Countries should meet as many times as is needed over these 6 months to ensure that there is not another failure to get a deal that gets the job done.

In the mean time, we are faced with a very costly delay, with costs measured in human lives, and in dollars.

... Read more »

Canada the Colossal Fossil

I have some bad news: Canada just won the Colossal Fossil award, aka the Fossil of the Year award. This award is handed out to the country that has done the most to obstruct negotiations during the entire COP. Canada had the dishonor of winning this award last year as well.

... Read more »

Copenhagen Wheel

Well, the bad news is coming in waves today.  Stephen Harper missing in action, China refusing to compromise, Canada winning the Colossal Fossil of the Year (as voted by over 400 NGOs around the world for being the worst country at climate negotiations for 2009), NGOs continue to be locked out of the Bella Center, no movement from any countries to increase their pledges and break the developing-developed country split that has characterized the talks, etc. 

Long gone are hopes for a robust and binding agreement.  Also long gone are hopes for even a political agreement to take action.  Now, the latest is a rumoured "political declaration" in which countries would continue to say that they will work together with a deadline of June 2010 to get a treaty on paper. ... Read more »

Please tell us it was a hoax

Denmark - A man who we hope was posing as Environment Minister Jim Prentice gave a speech at the climate change negotiations Thursday night.  The 100 presidents and prime ministers present were expecting Prime Minister Harper to represent Canada at the podium, but he was nowhere to been seen at the site of the negotiations.  It was a repeat of his performance last summer when he ducked out of climate negotiations to do a photo-op at a Tim Horton's - which is hard find in Copenhagen.

The speech by Minister Prentice was devoid of substance although it did mimic the language of environmental activists using the words "fair," "effective," and "comprehensive."  It also contained a veiled threat to torpedo the talks by saying, "A new global agreement should consist of a single, comprehensive undertaking." ... Read more »

Canada is the 2009 COLOSSAL FOSSIL OF THE YEAR

Few of the NGO delegates - and definitely not the Canadian NGO delegates - were surprised to find out that Canada won - again - the Colossal Fossil of the Year award.

This is the official press release:

“Fossil of the Year goes to CANADA, for bringing a totally unacceptable position into Copenhagen and refusing to strengthen it one bit. Canada’s 2020 target is among the worst in the industrialized world, and leaked cabinet documents revealed that the governments is contemplating a cap-and-trade plan so weak that it would put even that target out of reach.

“Canada has made zero progress here on financing, offering nothing for the short term or the long term beyond vague platitudes. And in last night’s high-level segment, Canada’s environment minister gave a speech so lame that it didn’t include a single target, number or reference to the science.... Read more »

Awaiting the final verdict ...

It is Friday December 18, just after 3PM. I am sitting here in the Øksnehallen in downtown Copenhagen, huddled together with other NGO activists that were banned from the conference centre. I have never been executed, but this is what it must feel like. You have filed a final appeal for the death sentence to be converted into a life sentence, you have made a passionate plea with the best (science-based) arguments available and now you are waiting for somebody else to decide your fate.... Read more »

International relations is a funny thing

Throughout this process I have felt a growing sense of empathy for the actual negotiators involved.  No doubt, this is an extremely frustrating experience for them.  With so many delegates, so many world leaders involved, so many cameras and microphones everywhere, so many documents making the rounds, so many people watching/listening, and with so much at stake, I can't help but feel sorry for these individuals.

Let us always remember that these are people who, I have to believe, are generally working toward trying to reach an agreement.  Such are the follies of international relations, however, that these types of negotiations are a painfully long and complicated process.... Read more »

Details on the Protest, International Youth Sit-in, Harper Arrives

Yesterday I filmed the Reclaim Power civil society protest. I arrived at 11:30 and things were just getting started. There, hundreds of protesters gathered around a semi-circle human wall of police in riot gear standing front of a wall of police vans in front of the fence blocking access to the Bella Centre. As I arrived, the event leader was calling on people to push through the police, climb over or though the police vans and over the fence.  Protesters surged forward and were pushed back by police.  After this, people milled around chanting messages but after about half an hour the police decided to declare the event illegal and threatened everyone with arrest and started closing in on protesters.... Read more »

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