Plastic pollution treaty talks head to Ottawa next year. What’s at stake?
As the latest talks on a global plastics treaty ended in accusations of deadlocked negotiations, eyes are now turning to Canada, which will play host to the next round of negotiations at a time when some warn the treaty’s future hangs in the balance.
Nations wrapped up on Sunday a third round of talks in Kenya as part of a five-meeting schedule to hammer out a draft of a treaty to end global plastic pollution.
Canada will ban importing, manufacturing single-use plastics by end of 2022
Diamond co-authored a paper published this month that warned industry conflicts of interest could hamper treaty talks and called for safeguards to prevent improper influence over a UN science-policy panel on chemical, waste and pollution prevention, which she is involved in developing.
Guilbeault, the federal environment minister, has previously indicated he is not opposed to production limits, but said eliminating pollution means using plastic more carefully, not eliminating its use altogether.
Environmental groups have pushed Guilbeault to offer clear support for a treaty with production scale-down targets. Greenpeace has argued for a treaty that would aim to reduce production by 75 per cent by 2040.
“They’re sort of holding out in terms of where they’re going to be on some of the key control measures around reducing plastic production,” said Forbes, the Greenpeace delegation head.
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“But I would say overall, Canada is playing a fairly constructive role and we’re going to be looking to them to sort of grow in their leadership.”
Canada has set a domestic goal to wipe out plastic waste by 2030.
But last week, the government’s ban on some single-use plastics like straws and grocery bags was put into question when the Federal Court ruled Ottawa had overstepped by designating all “plastic manufactured items” as toxic. Guilbeault said Monday the government would appeal the decision, which struck down the cabinet order underlying the ban.
A strong treaty could help give not only Canada, but other countries still mulling plastics regulations, more legitimacy to take aggressive action, said Wirsig, of Environmental Defence.
“Where Canada may have been leading or on the leading edge with being so far out front of the treaty, now the treaty might help Canada finish the job,” she said.