Both the CBC and CTV are reporting that Washington is furious over comments made by PM Martin at the UN climate conference in Montreal this week. (Washington furious over Martin’s climate change comments, U.S. summons McKenna over Martin remarks)

Jim Connaughton, chairman of the Council on Environmental Quality, has told Canadian Ambassador Frank McKenna that Martin’s comments are the worst slight against President George W. Bush since Germany’s Gerhard Schroeder suggested Bush’s stance against the Kyoto Protocol was responsible for hurricane Katrina. (link) (emphasis mine)

(More after the fold)
What did he say that has so angered Washington?

“To the reticent nations, including the United States, I say there is such a thing as a global conscience, and now is the time to listen to it,” Martin told the United Nations conference on climate change in Montreal Wednesday. (link)

It is very clear to all those involved in the conference, that the US is adamantly opposed to Kyoto, or any processes to continue discussion around it.

On the final day of the November 28-December 9 U.N. conference on climate change, environmentalists said they were losing hope that the United States — the largest producer of heat-trapping greenhouse gases — would sign a separate agreement for all nations, not just Kyoto members.

Although the United States is not one of the 157 countries that have subscribed to Kyoto, Canada wants a deal on open-ended talks among all countries about long-term cooperation on climate change.

Delegates said U.S. climate negotiator Harlan Watson walked out of a session of talks overnight, saying host Canada’s proposal for dialogue on long-term actions was tantamount to entering negotiations. (link)

In all fairness (and b/c I’m a FenceSitter), Martin has been called out for the Canadian government’s lack of action and negative results on Kyoto specific metrics, like green house gas emissions. (Kyoto speech exposes Prime Minister’s hypocrisy.)

Embassy spokesmen and State Department officials give conflicting answers regarding who summoned who, to meet about what, describing the meeting as a regularly scheduled meeting that was “cordial” (Cdn Embassy), versus a furious Bush administration official demanding a meeting to make very clear his unhappiness (US State Dept), but it is very clear that Cdn-US relations are not what they once were and do not look like they’re improving.

Update [2005-12-9 16:23:15 by olivia]:

I’ve added a few links below in the comments section as posts, that point to Cheney’s involvement, but this article seems to sum up the situation, plus gives Martin’s response to his original comments, so I’m adding this as an update to the diary.

The Bush administration has told Canada it was angry with the direct criticism Prime Minister Paul Martin made of the U.S. position on climate change, CBC television reported on Friday.

It said Vice-President Dick Cheney asked for the message to be delivered on Thursday to Canada’s ambassador to the United States, Frank McKenna, after Martin suggested Washington should listen to global conscience on climate change.

Canadian embassy spokesman Bernie Etzinger confirmed to Reuters that McKenna did ask for and receive a meeting with Jim Connaughton, head of the White House’s Council on Environmental Quality. Etzinger declined to confirm if any displeasure was voiced.

The particular comments at issue were those Martin — in the middle an election campaign — made during a news conference in Montreal on Wednesday after addressing a U.N. climate change meeting.

“To the reticent nations, including the United States, I’d say this: there is such a thing as a global conscience, and now is the time to listen to it. Now is the time to join with others in our global community,” Martin said.

At a news conference on Friday Martin declined to comment about the McKenna meeting, but was unapologetic for his remarks about climate change.

“I spoke what I believe. I spoke what I have been saying for quite some time now. I conveyed this message to the president of the United States … (and to) every world leader I have met with.” (link)

Update [2005-12-10 14:27:19 by olivia]:

As a last update to this story, the US has changed its stance and will now participate in informal discussions with other nations on global climate change initiatives.

The United States remained almost alone outside the new Kyoto deal, but agreed to informal talks under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC). The U.S. would only agree to informal talks that will not “open to any discussion leading to new commitments.” (link)

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