As the first stage of new talks on the Kyoto agreement got under way in Bonn yesterday it emerged that one of the key countries – Canada – is willing to comply with its Kyoto commitments only if its emissions targets are lowered in phase two of the agreement.In two written submissions, Canada’s Conservative government has called for longer deadlines, voluntary targets and exceptions for its resource-based economy. “The protocol must be more effective if it is to continue as a key instrument to address global climate change … Different types of commitments and longer time horizons should be considered,” Canada argues.

So here we have a fundamental problem: all the science is saying that climate change is happening at a much more violent, and extreme pace than previously thought, and yet many of the policticians want to slow down their response. There will be trouble ahead.