November 30, 2008

Prentice warms to critics ahead of climate talks

OTTAWA and TORONTO — Through a series of casual chats on Parliament Hill, Environment Minister Jim Prentice has personally invited his opposition critics to join him at the UN's global climate-change talks taking place next week in Poland.

It is a small but symbolic gesture that signals a clear change in tone on the environment file from the Harper government.

This time last year, opposition environment critics were furious at then- environment-minister John Baird, who broke from established practice in refusing to bring them as part of the Canadian delegation.

Known as the Convention on Climate Change, the annual gathering allows countries to share ideas and negotiate new targets for reducing greenhouse-gas emissions.

This round of talks – being held in the western Polish city of Poznan – comes at a crucial moment. Time is running out for the countries to negotiate an extension to the Kyoto Protocol before it expires in 2012.

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