Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Cold as Ice: Why It Matters that the Canadian Government is Backing Out of UN Climate Change Efforts

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by Jacob Patterson-Stein

At the end of March, while answering questions in the House of Commons, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper calmly explained why he was stopping payments to an organization that, in his words, “spends less than 20 percent of the funds that we send […] on programming.” At a time when governments everywhere are feeling the urge to justify spending, it is not surprising that representatives cheered after the PM’s brief statement. What caught many international observers off guard, however, was the organization to which Harper was referring: the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD). Indeed, even the UN was surprised to learn that Canada was withdrawing from the Convention and reportedly only found out about Ottawa’s decision after being reached for comment by Canadian press.

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