OTTAWA – The new British envoy to Ottawa said Canada remains credible as a trusted partner in the fight against climate change, despite the national increase in greenhouse gas emissions in recent years.
Recently arrived in Canada, British High Commissioner Susanna Joshko said the current Trudeau administration has shown “tremendous leadership” in the fight against climate change on the international stage.
That’s because Canada has doubled its financial commitments to climate finance and increased its emission reduction targets, Joshko said, putting pressure on other countries.
Joshko presented the assessment in a lengthy interview as the UK prepares to host what are seen as key UN climate talks in Scotland next month, known as COP26.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has been criticized by his political opponents and environmental groups in the recent federal election, when Canada’s carbon emissions actually increased from 2015 to 2019, the latest years for which data is available.
While neoliberal policies may have reduced emissions over the next two years, current data has fueled the narrative that Canada’s reputation for fighting climate change has weakened since Trudeau joined the deal. of Paris on the climate in the weeks following his arrival in power.
This is not the case, Gushko said, from the British point of view.
“I think there is no doubt that it is difficult to do what it takes to meet our climate goals. The transition to a zero-zero economy is really, really difficult. And I think the most important thing, when it comes to Canada, is that the dedication is there, ”said Gushko.
Net zero is the term which means that no new emissions are added to the earth’s atmosphere because nature or technology captures all the emissions produced.
Canada has committed this year to achieving net zero by 2050 and has also raised its emissions reduction targets from 30% from 2005 levels by 2030 to 40-45%.
These new pledges, along with Canada’s partnership with Germany to help provide $ 100 billion in funding to the poorest countries to help them tackle climate change, mean that “Canada has shown leadership. great leadership, ”said Joshko.
“This is the kind of leadership we need because now we need all countries to really step up these commitments if we are to make the COP a success.”
Gushko said it was essential for China, as the world’s largest emitter, to play a role in COP26, but his administration was still waiting to see if President Xi Jinping would join the 120 world leaders to participate in the early opening. of the Meeting. November.
Despite China’s voracious appetite for energy, including its coal-powered variety, Joshko said it is also the world’s largest investor in renewables, making it a key partner in the fight against climate change.
Joshko has taken a prominent place in the face of Britain and Canada’s strong involvement with China in recent years. She worked for two years as private secretary to the recently deceased British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab.
She witnessed the personal friendship that Raab and his former Canadian counterpart, François-Philippe Champagne, forged during personal meetings in London before and after the outbreak of the pandemic. Joshko said Raab is excited to pursue a closer alliance with Canada, especially given Brexit.
This was reflected in Canada’s support in light of China’s imprisonment of Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor, which only ended in September, after nearly three years.
She said Raab was one of the earliest supporters of Canada’s international efforts to make a declaration against arbitrary detention by states.
She said Canada has enthusiastically participated in international efforts to criticize China for human rights violations in Hong Kong and to impose sanctions for violations committed in Xinjiang Province against Uyghur Muslims, and has not shied away from China’s detention of two of its citizens in apparent retaliation. Arrest Chinese CEO Meng Wanzhou on the basis of a US extradition warrant.
“I can’t think of a time when we came to Canada and said, ‘We want to do something about this,’ and the answer was no, ‘Gushko said.
Joshko also played down any suggestion that Britain was ignoring Canada by forming a new alliance known as AUKUS with Australia and the United States.
The alliance aims to help Australia acquire a fleet of nuclear submarines to counter China’s growing regional influence.
France was outraged by the move, but Trudeau shrugged his shoulders, saying Canada had no interest in nuclear submarines.
She said Britain’s military and security cooperation with Canada remains strong in other areas, including cooperation through NATO in Eastern Europe as a counterweight to Russia, and the recent agreement to deepen cooperation in the Arctic.
Joshko said Britain’s alliance with Canada in the Five Eyes Intelligence Sharing Network (along with Australia, the United States and New Zealand) remains a top priority that does not conflict with AUKUS in any way. All of the Five Eyes are constantly working to improve his abilities.
“I do not see the American University of Jerusalem in any way, with intent or in violation of the Five Eyes,” she said. “It doesn’t make sense to us that one is to the detriment of the other.”
This report was first published by The Canadian Press on October 24, 2021.
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