In the Chamber -- Grant Mitchell's Blog

Green Leadership

Posted 11/23/2009 by Grant Mitchell

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There is a sentiment, or perhaps it is a technique, that Canada should not have a firm position when we go to Copenhagen because that will weaken our negotiating position. I guess the thinking is that if we can hold firm to doing less, then other countries will have to do more.

There is another strategy; one that is integral to leadership on this issue. If we are prepared to do our fair share, then perhaps that will inspire or at least push other countries to do theirs. This is premised upon the idea that we are not really negotiating with other countries; we are dealing with climate and it doesn’t negotiate.

Recently, the government said that there was no point in doing anything unless the US does and that we should look rather at climate change adaptation. Several things struck me about this:

  1. Canada used to be a country that made its own decisions and provided leadership. Most notably, Canada entered two world wars that could not have been won without US involvement long before the US had decided to become involved. In fact, it might be said that while Canada and the other early participants could not have won the war alone, their early efforts made it more winnable when the US arrived. The same might be said about the climate change fight.

  2. The US actually will do something whether through new legislation or under the auspices of the Environmental Protection Agency. There is no doubt about it. We will not be ready for what they do because the government is doing nothing.

  3. Under any circumstance, how could our government ever say that they were prepared to do nothing about climate change? Rather, if the problem is others not doing enough, then lead, persuade, cajole, and arm twist. Do what it takes to get this thing back on track. How can there be so much defeatism in our government at a time when our children and our world need leadership so much?


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