COP21: Interview with Elizabeth May


Elizabeth May speaks to us about her view of COP21 so far. She is the leader of Canada’s Green Party and a Member of the Canadian Parliament.

1. Is Canada really back in the fight against climate change?

Yes.  After ten years of deliberate sabotage against climate action, Canada is back! The degree of leadership we are prepared to assume is still in question, but there is no doubt: we will no longer be the worst country in the room.

2. Do you see a difference between Canada and Europe’s public expectations, with regards to the outcome of COP21?

Canada wants a treaty that will work, nevertheless, our media, our political establishment (other than the Greens) and our civil society actors have been dangerously unplugged from the challenge and the COP process.

3. Is the U.S. Congress the real threat to a binding and ambitious agreement? 

Yes and no.  We can have a binding treaty while accepting that the U.S. will not officially ratify, but recognise its existing legal obligations under the UNFCCC. Political cowardice and Washington’s beltway politics torpedoed the COP15 Copenhagen talks. It must not happen again.

4. What's your impression of the current technical talks? Is enough progress being made? 

There has been virtually no progress over the last 36 hours, but there is a strong sense (unlike in Copenhagen) that a deal is possible.

5. What's your role at COP21?

As a member of the Canadian government delegation, I am in an advisory and advocacy role with the new government.  I also have a responsibility to keep Canadians informed.  With the invaluable assistance of Claire Martin, a climate critic for the Green Party of Canada, we are posting blogs and videos and attempting to increase Canadians' information and mobilization.

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