When it comes to progress on climate change negotiations, the best thing for Canada to do is to stay home and stop sabotaging the process, says the leader of the Green Party.
"Canada continues to be a country that pushes other countries to do less. Our role is not just an embarrassment, it's reckless and brings our once good national reputation into disrepute," argued Elizabeth May at a news conference in Ottawa today.
World governments are in Doha, Qatar working out a new deal to replace the Kyoto Protocol, which expires at the end of this year. Canada announced it was pulling out of the Kyoto process last year but is still officially involved in the Kyoto process until Dec. 15.
May called the Canadian government's behaviour in Doha scandalous because she alleges the Conservatives are working to weaken an agreement just before pulling out of it.
May is unmoved by the fact that Canada is only responsible for 2 per cent of global emissions. She chanelled former Liberal Foreign Affairs Minister Lloyd Axworthy to explain why.
"When we decide to sabotage global agreements, we punch above our weight. We've done far more damage to the global climate through obstructing negotiations, through twisting arms to try to keep India from taking on targets, to try to stop global progress, than we have ever done through the volume of our emissions," May said.
Tories fire back
The government points out that the Doha conference is about more than just the Kyoto Protocol. Canada, along with New Zealand, Japan and other countries, is working on a deal that would encompass all emitters, not just the world's developed countries.
"While Ms. May and others are focused on the 15 per cent of global emissions covered by Kyoto, we are working to get the other 85 per cent of emissions covered by a binding, international agreement that will have real impact in combating global climate change," Rob Taylor, spokesperson for Environment Minister Peter Kent, wrote to CBC News.
Taylor added that Canada is also a founding member of the Climate and Clean Air Coalition. That's a group looking to deal with short-lived climate pollutants like methane and black carbon.
May suggested Canada could rejoin the treaty process with its new, easier-to-meet target of reducing greenhouse gasses to 17 per cent below 2005 levels.
"Tell the rest of the world that we'll negotiate to get back into Kyoto but that's our target [17 per cent below 2005 levels]. You know what? They'd take us back," said May.
Related on HuffPost:
Pollution By Province
Here's a list of each province's contribution to Canada's overall emissions in 2009.<br><br>Source: <a href="http://nrtee-trnee.ca/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/reality-check-report-eng.pdf" target="_hplink">National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy.</a> Data. from Environment Canada. (Alamy)
P.E.I. - 0 Per Cent
P.E.I's 2009 contribution was 2 megatonnes carbon-dioxide equivalent (Mt) or less than 1 per cent of Canada's total. (MICHEL VIATTEAU/AFP/Getty Images)
Newfoundland And Labrador - 1 Per Cent
Newfoundland and Labrador's 2009 contribution was 10 Mt. (<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/60548141@N00/" target="_hplink">Flickr: magnolia1000</a>)
New Brunswick - 3 Per Cent
New Brunswick's 2009 contribution was 18 Mt. (Luke Pinneo/Getty Images)
Manitoba - 3 Per Cent
Manitoba's 2009 contribution was 20 Mt. (<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/jezz/">Flickr: Jezz's Photostream</a>
Nova Scotia - 3 Per Cent
Nova Scotia's 2009 contribution was 21 Mt. (Tim BREAKMEIE/AFP/Getty Images)
B.C. - 9 Per Cent
B.C.'s 2009 contribution was 64 Mt. (PUNIT PARANJPE/AFP/Getty Images)
Saskatchewan - 11 Per Cent
Saskatchewan's 2009 contribution was 73 Mt. (<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/justaprairieboy/">Flickr: Just a Prairie Boy's photostream</a>)
Quebec - 12 Per Cent
Quebec's 2009 contribution was 82 Mt. (Alamy)
Ontario - 24 Per Cent
Ontario's 2009 contribution was 165 Mt. (GEOFF ROBINS/AFP/Getty Images)
Alberta - 34 Per Cent
Alberta's 2009 contribution was 234 Mt. (MARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty Images)