Commonwealth meeting training for climate talks: Dion
Leaders of 53 Commonwealth countries are grappling with their own negotiations on addressing climate change in what Canada’s foreign minister calls a “training camp’’ for next week’s United Nations conference in France.
“You have the world in 53 nations here,’’ Stephane Dion said Thursday shortly after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau arrived in Malta for the three-day summit of Commonwealth heads of government.
“And the debates we have had since I came yesterday are very, let’s say, lively. I’m sure they will be repeated in the next two weeks in Paris.’’
French President Francois Hollande is to make an extraordinary address to the leaders here Friday in what appears to be the first appearance by a French head of state at the biennial Commonwealth meeting — a gathering of countries formerly under British rule.
Hollande will arrive straight from Russia, where he was seeking to secure a common front in the military fight against Islamic militants. It seems likely he’ll plumb that theme with the Commonwealth countries as well, but the reason for his unusual visit is to rally support for an international climate agreement.
Dion’s characterization of “lively’’ Commonwealth climate talks hints at the challenge ahead.
India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the leader of the most populous Commonwealth country with an exponentially growing appetite for coal-fired electricity generation, is taking a pass on this year’s Commonwealth meeting amid concerns that the developing subcontinent poses a major obstacle to a comprehensive climate deal.
India’s “coal minister’’ Piyush Goyal is on record saying the world’s third-largest producer of greenhouse gases won’t be constrained by emissions limits when developed countries have spent the past century pouring carbon into the Earth’s atmosphere.
Meanwhile, tiny Tuvalu — an archipelago of low-lying islands in the South Pacific — is in danger of being submerged by rising sea levels due to global warming.