A tweet by Simon Donner “It is World Day to Combat Desertification. Or, World minus Canada, as Canada is only country to ever withdraw from the treaty #WDCD2013″ reminds us of an article from a few months ago in Science:
Any doubts that Canada is an “outlier” on climate change were dispelled this week, say critics, after the Conservative government announced it is withdrawing from a U.N. convention to combat desertification signed by 194 other nations.
Green Party leader Elizabeth May decried the move as another sign of the Conservative’s indifference to environmental protection. Prime Minister Stephen Harper is “making us a rogue nation. The North Korea of environmental law,” she tweeted.
Harper says his government is simply being fiscally prudent. Only 18% of the roughly CAD$350,000 per year that Canada contributed to the U.N. initiative is “actually spent on programming,” he told Parliament this week during question period. “The rest goes to various bureaucratic measures. … It’s not an effective way to spend taxpayers’ money.”
I wonder what, if anything, that means, but the 35 million Canadians are in any case almost exactly a penny richer each, given that there is little desertification in Canada. This is not the Canada I grew up in, though.