Darren Kropf, from Kitchener, Ontario, wrote me with his burning questions on my experience in Durban, through the MCC Ontario blog Creation Care Crossroads. This is my response.
Thanks for your letter of encouragement and challenge. You have asked some very good questions and have expressed sentiments that I think are shared by many others.
As you have indicated the Church has the mandate to speak truth to power and to lead the change that is desired for the world.
I have been wrestling in my heart and mind how to respond to Minister Kent following the announcement that Canada will pull out of the Kyoto Protocol. It weighs heavy on me and I want to make sure that my response will be thoughtful rather than simply reactionary.
Some will call me naive, but I found it difficult to dismiss Minister Kent in our meeting in Durban. He clearly seemed to recognise the serious responsibility of needing to cut global emission levels. Because of this Minister Kent was calling for a more robust legally binding agreement that would include all countries of the globe. Something that would reflect all major emitters rather than the less than 30% currently contained in the Kyoto Protocol.
Both Ambassador St. Jacques, Canada's Climate Change Ambassador and Lead Negotiator, and Minister Kent stated that "with a new legally binding agreement it would be implicit that Canada would need to revisit our current target levels. They would most likely need to increase [from the Copenhagen agreement of 17%]."
I have chosen to believe Minister Kent and Ambassador St. Jacques and will want to hold them accountable to this statement. As all negotiators, Canada has been attempting to find a balance between wanting to protect our economy and providing real reduction impact in our emission levels. This has been the crux of the negotiations. It was displayed particularly by the US, China, Japan, India, and Canada in Durban.
I can understand their rationale even if I do not fully agree with it. I think it would be very appropriate for us as the People of God to express our deep disappointment with Canada's withdrawal from the Kyoto Protocol. I think it is our responsibility to stand in solidarity with the Least Developed Countries and call for our government to push for a quicker creation of a new legally binding agreement. I think it is imperative that we ask our government to be willing to risk our economic growth so that we do not place our global neighbours at more risk. I think it is crucial that we increase awareness among our network of family and friends asking everyone to re-evaluate consumption behaviours. Finally it is essential that all individuals express themselves to their Member of Parliament, the Minister of Environment, and the Prime Minister. As politicians they need a platform of unmistakable public opinion in order to provide the leadership we are requesting.
Thanks for your letter Darren and for the partnership of MCC Ontario Creation Care Crossroads. I look forward to more dialogue.