Com­mon­wealth meet­ing train­ing for cli­mate talks: Dion

Cape Breton Post - - CANADA -

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.


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