Last week's announcement that Canada won't match U.S. emission-reduction targets offers a fresh look at Canadians' enduring bipolarity on climate change: They're far more likely than Americans to say the problem is real, yet keep voting for a government that does nothing about it. Therein lies a cautionary tale for the rest of the world.
In a narrow sense, Prime Minister Stephen Harper's statement marks a reversal. He has long used the absence of a U.S. climate policy to justify his government's failure to introduce oil and gas regulations he first promised almost a decade ago, on the logic that the two countries are too economically integrated to pursue different approaches. Now that U.S. President Barack Obama has set an official target -- a 26 percent to 28 percent reduction in greenhouse gases by 2025 -- Harper is saying the American policy is too aggressive to match.