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Council of Canadians Cherrypicks the Peoples Agreement from Cochabamba PDF Print E-mail
Earth News
Thursday, 27 May 2010 01:46
Council of Canadians Cherrypicks the Peoples Agreement from Cochabamba
PEJnews - Joan Russow | Global Compliance Research Project
What was significant in the Cochabamba conference was that there was a final comprehensive People’s Agreement,  emerging from the seventeen group discussions. In a recent release, the Council of Canadians has misrepresented the Peoples Agreement by asking the Canadian government to do less than was asked for at the conference, and by cherrypicking parts of the agreement.


While in the section in the COC release, “What happened in Cochambamba”, the Council of Canadians reported the following: 
“On April 17‐19, [April 19 – 22] 2010 in Cochabamba, Bolivia, the Bolivian government hosted a conference called The World Peoples’ Conference on Climate Change and Rights of Mother Earth, bringing together more than 34,000 participants (with 10,000 registered from countries outside of South America) for a dialogue on alternative proposals to the climate crisis. Government representatives from 147 countries were present, and at least 45 were active participants. The process included 17 working groups that met and discussed key issues relating to climate justice. There were also main plenary panels and working group events.”
What was particularly significant in the Cochabamba conference was that there was a final comprehensive People’s Agreement,  emerging from the seventeen group discussions.. The Council of Canadians has misrepresented the document by asking the Canadian government to do less than was asked for at the conference, and by cherrypicking parts of the document.
In the recent release by the Council of Canadians, there appears to be a disjunction between the position of Maude Barlow, chair of Council of Canadians and the Council of Canadians negotiator. Surely when Maude appeared at the UN along with President Morales she did so under the presumption that she supported the conclusions in the People’s Agreement. One would expect that after appearing at the UN that the Council of Canadians would change their weak Copenhagen proposal and fully demand that Canada abide by the People’s Agreement. It would have been more ethical for the Council not to have issued a cherry picking release, and just followed up the UN presentation with a statement that the Council of Canadians fully supports the Peoples Agreement.
For too long, self serving NGOs, more concerned about sustaining their power and “brand”  have been undermining the discussions on climate change. Often the reasons were not immediately evident.. At the UN, at a NGO meeting on climate change and the Global Environmental Facility, , in 1997 when the issue of  transparency was raised in relation to corporate participation on the NGO board,  Felix Dodd from a UK NGO  admitted that a representative from British Petroleum was on his board.  More and more, the close ties between the corporate sector and NGOs are being revealed.
 The Council of Canadians, does not have corporate connections so why are they willing to be weak? Why are the Council of Canadians afraid to call upon the Canadian Government for an immediate end to the production in the tar sands instead of simply asking for the “end the expansion of the tar sands” as stated in their report? 

The problem in Canada has been that the mainstream NGOs, including Greenpeace Canada, Sierra Club and the Council of Canadians  and many other Canadian  NGOS all endorsed the Kyoto Plus petition with the following modest demands: 

KYOTOplus Petition for Concerned Canadians

Global warming is the greatest threat to life on earth. Entire populations and ecosystems are threatened by devastating impacts such as drought, heat waves, fires, floods, storms and rising sea levels.

Scientists have warned the United Nations that only urgent action can avert uncontrollable, runaway climate change.

Green solutions will create thousands of jobs and build a strong economy.

To preserve our environment and ensure a livable world for our children, I call on Canadian politicians to support these KYOTOplus goals:

  • Set a national target to cut greenhouse gas emissions at least 25 per cent from 1990 levels by 2020.
  • Implement an effective national plan to reach this target and help developing countries to reduce their emissions and adapt to climate change.
  • Adopt a bold, strengthened second phase of the Kyoto Protocol at the pivotal United Nations Climate Conference in Copenhagen, Denmark, December 2009.

The Government of Canada must act NOW to make climate change our highest priority.


The politicians then attempted to abide by the demands of the NGOs and Canada ended up with a flawed Climate change bill.
The Council of Canadians on May 7, praised the bill and then said it did not go far enough when the Council had essentially supported the provisions when they along with other NGOs endorsed the Kyoto plus. When Andrea the Chair was contacted about the flawed Kyoto Plus Campaign, she said that they had signed on because it reflected the demands of the NGOs that the Council was associated with.  We passed on the statement that we had submitted to www.climatechangecopenhagen.org



  WIN! C-311 passed by the House of Commons


  Friday, May 7th, 2010


  On Wednesday May 5, the House of Commons voted 149 to 136 and passed Bill

  C-311, the Climate Change Accountability Act. C-311 now goes to the Senate

  for final approval.


  The Canadian Press reports that, “The bill — the Climate Change

  Accountability Act — has spent the last year or so bouncing between the


  House of Commons and the Commons environment committee. The legislation

  calls for greenhouse gases to be cut 25 per cent below 1990 levels by



  By contrast, the Harper government to date has only called for - with no

  supporting plans or legislation - a cut of 17 per cent below 2005 levels


  2020. When this is translated to the standard baseline year of 1990, the

  Harper target actually equates to a 2.5 percent increase over 1990 levels




  Commenting on the passage of C-311, federal NDP leader Jack Layton stated,

  “We would not be here without the thousands of Canadians who called and

  wrote to their Members of Parliament, pushing them to finally adopt

  meaningful climate-change legislation.”


  The Council of Canadians has been speaking out in support of C-311 and

  urging its supporters and the broader public to contact their MP on this

  bill for the past eight months. Our ‘ACTION ALERT: Support the Climate

  Change Accountability Act, Bill C-311, becoming law’ is

  at http://www.canadians.org/action/2009/10-Dec-09.html. Council of


  chapters have also been consistently raising support for C-311 in climate

  actions taken in their communities.


  The Council of Canadians believes the House of Commons support for C-311


  a step in the right direction, but much more is needed. Andrea

  Harden-Donahue, Climate Justice Campaigner with the Council of Canadians,

  says, “The passage of C-311 has been a long time coming and it is


  good to see Parliament support it. While the Council of Canadians is

  celebrating the passage of C-311 and we want to see it pass the Senate, we

  believe that this is just a starting point.”


  In terms of greenhouse gas emissions, the Council supports a target of at

  least a 40 per cent cut below 1990 levels by 2020.


  Harden adds, “We want C-311 to lead to regulations that actually reduce


  emissions. Planning for a tar sands free future, getting off of coal,


  improving energy conservation and efficiency alongside plans for


  energy development, these are the types of actions that are needed.”


  While we call for deeper emission cuts, and are concerned that the Harper

  government - given its past practices - may choose to ignore the will of

  Parliament on this matter, the passage of C-311 is still an important win

  and significant step forward to Canada meeting its climate change



  Our media release - ‘Parliament’s vote for Bill C-311 an important step

  toward climate justice, says Council of Canadians’ - can be read

  at http://www.canadians.org/media/energy/2010/05-May-10.html.


  The Canadian Press report is


at http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/greenpage/environment/climate-change-bil

[The report can be read at: http://www.canadians.org/energy/documents/climatejustice/Cochabamba-report.pdf]

The People's Agreement can be found at Conferencia Mundial de los Pueblos sobre el Cambio Climático y los Derechos de la Madre Tierra

and a support petition at http://www.thepetitionsite.com/1/movement-for-mother-earth


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