Cancún Climate Summit Gives Fossil Fuels a Free Pass

Burning just 25 per cent of proven reserves is road to climate disaster scientists say

By Stephen Leahy*

CANCÚN, Mexico, Dec 7, 2010 (Tierramérica)

The main cause of climate change is the burning of fossil fuels, so why are billions of dollars being invested to find and produce more oil, coal and natural gas?

That is the question posed by Canadian indigenous representatives at the alternative civil society meet, Klimaforum, held parallel to the United Nations-sponsored climate summit under way in the Mexican resort city of Cancún.

“Canada’s tar sands project emits 40 million tonnes of carbon every year, with ambitious growth plans pushing that to nearly 140 million tonnes by 2020. The entire country of Denmark emits just 52 million tonnes,” said Melina Laboucan- Massimo.

The activist comes from the Lake Lubicon Cree band of First Nations in the province of Alberta, where thousands of square kilometres of tar-laden soil and sands underlying pristine boreal forests and marshes are being mined.

Canada is not being censured for this flagrant disregard for the global climate at the 16th Conference of Parties (COP 16) to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, she said.

The nearly 200 national delegations gathered for COP 16 (Nov. 29-Dec. 10) aim to stabilise emissions of greenhouse- effect gases to prevent climate change, but there is little hope of success.

In fact, at the Cancún summit no country is being challenged for expanding operations of oil, coal or natural gas or looking for new deposits.

Burning just one-quarter of the proven reserves of oil, gas and coal will push the global climate beyond the two degrees Celsius of average warming, scientists have predicted.

This article was brought to you in part by J. Bowers of the United Kingdom

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