I would like to highlight a positive facet of COPs, one that I feel is often under-appreciated: the permission of open press conferences provides an avenue for organizations to have a strong and (relatively more) legitimate voice, and for their issues to reach out to the larger global community.
This morning my fellow classmates and I attended a press conference given by several Canadian political parties and workers’ unions held just minutes before the Canadian Environmental Minister (as I type, is about to) take the floor at the High-level Segment of the 6th Meeting of the COP.
It is at the same time comforting and disconcerting to hear the affirmation by Elizabeth May of the Green Party–in addition to those of the Liberal Party, the National Union of Public and General Employees, and the Youth Party–that a majority of Canadians support compliance with the Kyoto Protocol, despite strong resistance by their government.
The representative of one trade union, representing over 340,000 provincial workers, claimed that “the Kyoto Protocol is a key tool to get Canada on track to a just transition to low-carbon alternative jobs;” while Elizabeth May commented, “If you can’t agree, the least you can do is not to stand in the way of other countries reaching agreement progress.”
An internal struggle I faced was how the Canadian government could ignore the voices of its own people, despite how strongly they reverbated. At Moon Palace, there is constant reiteration that political will is necessary in order for capacity building – and yet it is sorely lacking. This press conference clearly exemplifies the difficulties the negotiations face.
How long must we wait, before each country is able to move past their individual ambitions and align themselves to a common global goal? Reflecting upon the struggles that Canada faces, it seems that the answer is uncertain, and certainly frightening.