Members of the Indigenous Environmental Network demonstrate against the Shell oil company outside the South African Petroleum Refinery (SAPREF) in Durban November 30, 2011.
Credits: REUTERS/Mike Hutchings
It's that most of the 190 countries which attend, along with the global environmental movement, don't want to call out the U.S. and China, the two key players on which any post-Kyoto agreement to lower global greenhouse gas emissions depends.
China and the U.S. are the respective leaders of the developing and developed worlds, they are responsible for a combined 40% of global emissions, they are the world's number one and number two emitters and neither has to reduce emissions by a single tonne under Kyoto.
And yet Canada, responsible for 2% of emissions - including the oilsands at one-10th of 1% - routinely gets hysterically bashed at these never-ending UN confabs.
So what's really going on?
First, diplomats from other countries are afraid of offending the two biggest economies in the world because of the potential diplomatic and economic fallout on other issues, so they use Canada as a whipping boy for the U.S. Environmentalists - who constantly engage in juvenile and asinine attacks on Canada at these conferences - do so because they don't want to take on U.S. President Barack Obama.
They see him as a kindred spirit and their best hope for drafting a successor agreement to Kyoto.
Environmentalists won't attack China because the green movement has deep roots in anti-Western, anti-capitalist, anti-development and anti-growth ideologies, and they see China as the last best hope for their discredited ideas. Indeed, many "environmentalists," particularly in Europe, are Marxists, who were put out of business when the Soviet Union collapsed and communism was discredited in the early 1990s.
They transformed themselves into anti-global warming crusaders just as the Soviet Union was falling apart and the global warming movement was gathering steam.
Of course, pretending China is a bastion of communism is a joke. China today is a capitalist hybrid that is ardently pro-growth and pro-development, motivated by the need to feed its people, and building one greenhouse-gas spewing, coal-fired electricity plant a week.
It's equally absurd for environmentalists and diplomats to attack Canada as a proxy for the U.S., while not taking on the U.S., because the American and Canadian positions in Durban are virtually identical.
Both countries have the same, self-imposed emission reduction target - 17% below 2005 levels by 2020.
Both have said they won't sign a post-Kyoto agreement unless, unlike Kyoto, it contains hard targets to reduce emissions for China and the rest of the developing world, which oppose them.
Both countries have expressed major concerns about contributing to a
$100-billion-a-year climate mitigation fund to help poor nations, without these targets.
Both have rejected national carbon pricing.
The only difference between Canada and the U.S., both of which failed to meet their Kyoto emission targets, is that Jean Chretien idiotically ratified the economy-destroying deal, while the U.S. was never stupid enough to do so, starting with the Bill Clinton/Al Gore (surprise!) administration.
For environmentalists and diplomats to blame Canada ad nauseam at these annual UN conferences for the ongoing impasse on climate talks, instead of dealing with the key impasse of the U.S. versus China - is not only disingenuous, but dishonest, cowardly and craven.