British envoy seeks help from Canada on climate change at COP26

OTTAWA – Britain’s new envoy in Ottawa said Canada remains credible as a reliable partner in the fight against climate change, despite domestic increases in greenhouse gas emissions in recent years.

British High Commissioner Susanna Joshko, who recently arrived in Canada, says 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 raised its emissions cut targets, Joshko said, adding pressure on other nations.

Joshko presented the assessment in a lengthy interview as the UK prepares to host what are seen as pivotal UN climate talks in Scotland next month, known as COP26.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau came under fire from his political opponents and environmental groups in the recent federal election, as Canada’s carbon emissions rose from 2015 to 2019, the last few years for which data is available.

While neoliberal policies may have cut emissions in the next two years, current data has fueled the narrative that Canada’s reputation for fighting climate change has waned since Trudeau participated in the Paris climate agreement in the weeks since he took office.

From Britain’s point of view, this is not the case, Gushko said.

“I think there is no doubt that it is difficult to do what it takes to achieve our climate goals. The transition to a zero-zero economy is really difficult. And I think the most important thing about Canada is that the dedication is there,” Gushko said.

Net zero is the term that means no new emissions are added to the Earth’s atmosphere because nature or technology captures all of the emissions generated.

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Canada this year pledged to reach net zero by 2050 and raised its emissions cut targets from 30 percent below 2005 levels by 2030 to 40 to 45 percent.

These new pledges, as well as Canada’s partnership with Germany to help provide $100 billion in financing to poorer countries to help them fight climate change, mean “Canada has shown tremendous leadership,” Joshko said.

“It’s the kind of leadership that we need because now we need all countries to really step up these commitments if we want to make the COP a success.”

Gushko said it is critical for China, as the world’s largest emitter, to play a role in COP26, but her administration is still waiting to see if President Xi Jinping will join the 120 world leaders to participate. Meeting. November.

Despite China’s voracious appetite for energy, including its coal-fired variety, Joshko said it’s also the world’s largest investor in renewable energy, making it a key partner in the fight against climate change.

Joshko took a front row seat to Britain and Canada’s fraught engagement with China in recent years. She worked for two years as private secretary to the recently deceased British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab.

Raab’s personal friendship with his former Canadian counterpart, François-Philippe Champagne, was witnessed during personal meetings in London before and after the outbreak. Joshko said Raab was pleased to pursue a deeper alliance with Canada, especially in light of Brexit.

This was reflected in Canada’s support in light of China’s imprisonment of Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor, which ended only in September, after nearly three years.

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She said Raab was an early supporter of Canada’s international efforts to make a statement against arbitrary detention by states.

She said Canada has enthusiastically participated in international efforts to criticize China for human rights abuses in Hong Kong and impose sanctions for abuses in Xinjiang against Uyghur Muslims, and was not ashamed of China’s detention of two of its citizens in apparent retaliation. Chinese CEO Meng Wanzhou arrested on US extradition warrant.

“I can’t think of a time when we came to Canada and said, ‘We want to do something about it,’ 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 it off, 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 Information Sharing Network (with Australia, the United States and New Zealand) remains a top priority that does not conflict with AUKUS in any way. All five eye members are constantly working to improve his ability.

“I do not see the American University of Jerusalem in any way, or intent, or as a violation of the Five Eyes,” she said. “It doesn’t make sense for us to have one at the expense of the other.”

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This report was first published by The Canadian Press on October 24, 2021.

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