Canadian Government has lost its Moral Compass on Climate Change

OTTAWA, Nov. 28, 2011 /CNW/ - On the first day of UN climate change negotiations in Durban South African, an open statement demands Canada should at least not impede progress in Durban towards an ambitious, equitable and binding international agreement on climate change.

"Canada has a track record of acting more in the interests of big oil companies than Canadians at UN climate negotiations," says Maude Barlow of the Council of Canadians. "We are the only country to have come out of the Copenhagen UN climate negotiations to return home and weaken our emission reduction targets, allowing more climate change pollution," adds Barlow.

The statement endorsed by a diverse group of Canadian civil society organizations accuses the Canadian government of losing its moral compass on climate change, outlining key examples of Canadian government inaction and attempts to undermine climate change policy.

"Canada allowed the funding for the important EcoENERGY renewable energy programme to expire and threatened to end the EcoENERGY Retrofit - Homes program while continuing to subsidize the oil and gas industry approximately $1.4 billion annually" says Patrick Bonin, climate and energy director at Association québécoise de lutte contre la pollution atmosphérique (AQLPA).

"We hope the government takes a serious look at our statement and does not simply resort to name-calling those who oppose its position," said Jim Britton, Western Region Vice-President of the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada, referring to Prime Minister Harper's 'no-brainer' and 'extremist' comments during protests against the Keystone XL pipeline by environmental and labour groups.

The statement endorsers include Canadian environmental non-government organizations, social justice groups and unions, representing over one million people across Canada.

"It is time Canada's government started representing the desire of the majority of Canadians to participate in a binding international plan to reduce emissions, starting in Canada," said John Bennett, Executive Director of the Sierra Club Canada.

A number of Canadian organizations have representatives in Durban monitoring and responding to Canadian government actions.

SOURCE COUNCIL OF CANADIANS

For further information:

Andrea Harden-Donahue, Energy and Climate Campaigner, Council of Canadians, 613-218-5800, aharden@canadians.org

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