Joint Letter to Canadian PM Harper Urges Action in Wake of Considerable Criticism of Canada at COP15

Copenhagen, Dec. 15, 2009 – President Mikhail Gorbachev and The Rt. Hon. Kim Campbell have joined prominent business leaders, scientists and artists in a joint letter delivered today, calling on Prime Minister Harper to “dispel perceptions of defeatism” and to “rally the Canadian people” toward a clean energy economy.

The letter’s authors point to the “considerable criticism” of Canada at international climate negotiations and urge the Prime Minister to recommit Canada to its historic international role. The signatories note that Canada is one of the world’s top ten greenhouse gas emitters but also has “unparalleled potential” for clean energy. The authors warn Canada is “missing the economic opportunity of the twenty-first century.”

The Climate Action Task Force (CATF) coordinated the effort under the leadership of the former Soviet President. CATF is an independent, non-governmental committee comprised of leading international climate change thinkers and scientists, as well as former and current Heads of State calling upon civil society and the public at large, to urgently engage in the climate debate. The prime objectives of CATF include maximizing the opportunities offered by the climate negotiations and outlining a framework for Copenhagen follow-up.

Signatories to the joint letter include Bill Becker, Executive Director, US Presidential Climate Action Project; Jean-Michel Cousteau, Oceans Future President; Adam Koniuszewski, COO Green Cross International and Climate Action Task Force Project Leader; Dr. Andrew Weaver, Climate Scientist & IPPC author; David Hughes, President, Global Sustainability Research Inc; Tzeporah Berman, Executive Director PowerUP Canada; and other prominent scientists, authors, artists, and business leaders.

As an American citizen-journalist who flew to Copenhagen out of pocket with the help of donations and contributions from readers who want to see results from COP15, I echo the sentiments expressed to the Canadian PM and urge President Obama to read the letter as well.

Here is the complete text of the Joint Letter:

Dear Prime Minister Harper,

As you know, Canada has come under considerable criticism in the lead-up to December’s United Nations’ climate change conference in Copenhagen.

We urge you to dispel the perception that Canada is being defeatist about prospects for tackling climate change and building a clean energy economy.

The world desperately needs middle powers like Canada to come together and galvanize the international process. As one of the world’s top ten greenhouse gas emitters and a large energy producer, Canada is uniquely positioned to play a key role.

Canada has an admirable history both as a leader and an honest broker on many important issues in international affairs. We urge you to recommit Canada to that international role on the pressing issue of climate change and to do everything possible to raise the negotiations to the level of importance and urgency demanded by the climate threat.

The next wave of productivity and innovation will come from building a low carbon economy. Countries around the world are racing to develop and deploy new ways to produce and use energy. Canada has much to gain from deploying solutions to climate change. Canada has unparalleled potential for the deployment of wind, ocean and other clean energy technologies and extensive expertise in hydroelectricity. Individual Canadian provinces have been leaders on clean energy, greenhouse gas reduction and carbon pricing policies.

Currently Canada does not have a consistent price signal or sustained national incentives for the deployment of clean energy. Recent studies by the UN and HSBC show that Canada lags the G20 in deploying green stimulus. Canada is missing the economic opportunity of the twenty-first century.

Prime Minister, we are at a historic juncture. We urge you to dispel perceptions of defeatism, to rally the Canadian people and to grasp the economic opportunities of the clean energy economy.

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