If there's one lesson Harper has learned from his Big Brother in the White House, it's that talk is cheap. He's also learned the value of saying anything and doing something else.
Jeffrey Simpson points out in the Globe & Mail that Harper's performance at the G8 summit was just another load of Harper horseshit:
"Some time in mid-2009, the Americans will be ready to talk seriously inside the United Nations negotiations format. The talks are supposed to culminate in an international agreement at a conference in Copenhagen that December, but no one will be surprised if that date slips into 2010.
...This is just as well for Canada, whose federal government has advanced a position in the international arena that cannot be achieved, as everyone in that arena following climate change knows. Extra time will be needed for Canada to bring some credibility to its incoherent position. Otherwise, it will be accurately labelled as a climate-change miscreant, just as it was in the years after it ratified Kyoto, when it compiled the worst climate-change record of any signatory.
Canada's problem is that the Harper government's target for reducing greenhouse gas emissions cannot be achieved. It is arithmetically impossible for Canada to reduce its emissions by 20 per cent by 2020, as the government proposes, while Alberta's emissions are set to rise by 20 per cent. Nor will it be possible to achieve a 50-per-cent reduction target by 2050, as Mr. Harper pretends, if Alberta remains wedded to a policy calling for a mere 14-per-cent reduction by then.
The Harper government knows this. So do other countries' negotiators. They can see through the veneer of Canada's position. But the government is unwilling to publicly state this self-evident proposition in case it irritates people in Alberta, its political base.
Mr. Harper can claim that the G8 summit inched toward a stronger common commitment to attack global warming. But if pressed by knowledgeable people, he could not plausibly claim that Canada is inching toward a common federal-provincial position to allow this country to meet Mr. Harper's own target."
We've seen this before from Harper. For example, when he pushed through the extension of Canada's military mission to Afghanistan until 2011, he did absolutely nothing to make it remotely possible for us to leave by that deadline. That would have required negotiating with NATO and Washington - exchanging the extension for a binding commitment from Brussels and Washington to come up with a replacement force to take our place when the mandate expires.
Harper assures Canadians that 2011 is it while he knows that the very measures needed to allow us to leave will not be taken, certainly not by him and, therefore, not by NATO or the US either.
So there's no reason to be surprised that Harper would crow about the G8 agreement as a "breakthrough" in the fight against global warming. It's a crock and he knows it.