Banff environmentalists will use this weekend's G8 Environment Ministers' meeting to add their voice to the strong push for Minister David Anderson to ratify the Kyoto protocol.
The Banff Environmental Action and Research (BEAR) Society will bring up what is easily the hottest environmental issue of the day at a stakeholders meeting in Banff tomorrow afternoon (Friday, April 12).
"We know glaciers in the national parks are receding and we have a reduced snow pack and reduced water levels,'' said Ed Whittingham, a BEAR Society director.
"With the Bow being the headwaters for most of Alberta, farmers east of Calgary feel it ever more. We need to push for this.''
The Kyoto Protocol is not officially on the agenda at the April 12-14 meeting at the Fairmont Banff Springs hotel, however Anderson has hinted it will be discussed informally behind closed doors.
Under the 1997 Kyoto protocol, industrialized countries must reduce greenhouse gas emissions, which are argued to be contributing to global warming.
Japan and the European Union have committed to ratify the protocol, however Canada has yet to commit to a final decision and the U.S. has completely walked away.
Whittingham is one of 20 stakeholders invited to the two-hour closed-door meeting with Anderson at the Banff Seniors' Centre. The Minister's G8 counterparts or their representatives also will be at the meeting.
Other local residents to attend the stakeholders meeting include Jim Pissot, executive director of the Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative, and Ian McRoberts, a Banff Community High School student.
No local businesses had been invited to the meeting, however Julie Canning, executive director of the Association for Mountain Parks Protection and Enjoyment, managed to get a seat at the table at the last minute.
While Pissot and Canning plan to put forward different agendas, both will be pushing for increased funding for Canada's national parks, including the mountain parks.
The G8 Environment Ministers' meeting begins tomorrow (Friday, April 12) and concludes on Sunday (April 14). Based on past meetings, organizers are expecting 50 to 90 delegates.
The Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Program, and the Minister of Environment of South Africa are both special guests at the meeting.
The Banff meeting aims to lay the groundwork for G8 countries to take a common path forward at the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg, South Africa on August 26 to September 4.
"We're building momentum towards concrete action,'' said Christine Guay, Environment Canada's Director General of International Relations.
"It's an important exchange, on how can we feed into shaping how different countries will go forward at the world summit.''
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