The New Kyoto Bill
Friday February 16th 2007, 1:42 pm

The Conservative government in Canada doesn’t feel that we can attain the Kyoto targets of a six percent emission drop from 1990 levels by 2012, because it would be very destructive to the economy. If the Canadian public hadn’t voiced their concerns about global warming, this government may not have done anything to reduce emissions. If the public feels that not enough is being done, it could cause problems for this minority government during the next election, which will probably be this spring. The government’s response, recently, was to launch some new plans and reinstate some of the Liberal’s old programs, which they had cancelled. These plans would have taken years to make much of a difference in our greenhouse gas emissions.

Neither the Liberal nor the Conservative governments really ever planned on doing much to reach the Kyoto targets. The Kyoto treaty was signed in 1998, but the Liberals did little during the seven years they were in power, until they lost the election in January, 2006. Emissions actually increased substantially during those seven years.

With the Conservatives now in power, the Liberals have introduced legislation, which was passed in the House of Commons this week. The legislation gives the government a deadline of 60 days to come up with a plan to implement the Kyoto protocol. The government would have to have a plan to cut 35% of the greenhouse emissions by 2012. This would be to extract 220 million tonnes of it from the atmosphere every year. This would be quite a feat. I don’t know why the Liberals think the Conservative government can do something, which they weren’t able to do when they were in power.

The problem is that we have wasted eight years doing nothing, and the problem is even worse than it was in 1998. These eight lost years will make it almost impossible to meet the Kyoto protocol. I believe the Liberals, and all the opposition parties, know that it will be impossible for the government to come up with such a plan, unless the economy of Canada, and especially Alberta and Ontario, are destroyed. In Nova Scotia, our electricity is produced from the burning of coal, which is one of the dirtiest of the fossel fuels. This new legislation would cause unbelievable expense to this industry, and the taxpayers of Nova Scotia, and this is just the tip of the iceberg. The one thing that may come out of this new legislation, is to have a law in place which is more strongly worded than anything we have had in the past. Even if the government can’t come up with a 35% reduction plan, any new plan will be better than what we have in place now. This will be the first step to a new beginning.

Whichever party has to deal with this problem, the economy will be affected in some way. The legislation requires that any industry which continues to pollute, after a new plan is in place, will face fines and jail terms. Any plan this drastic will create job losses and a reduced standard of living for some Canadians. I am sure, that anyone who is effected would feel that having a strong economy, is better than making drastic changes to industry gas emissions. This new law would reduce industry production and effect industries’ bottom line, causing a loss of profitability, jobs and taxes. Industry has to held accountable because they are the problem, but changes have to be reasonable, with viable alternatives. The legislation doesn’t appear to have been well thought out, and may have been passed only to make the Conservative government look bad, or at least make them take global warming more seriously than they have in the past.

A plan such as this can’t be created in the 60 day time frame without problems being created. I hope someone will come up with a plan which will reduce greenhouse gases, in a reasonable amount of time, and not effect jobs or the economy a great deal. We did sign the Kyoto treaty and agreed to reduce greenhouse emissions, but Canada produces only 2% of the greenhouse gas emissions in the world. We are very small compared to the largest offenders, but it is time we started changing the way our industries operate. The 35% reduction isn’t a reasonable target, and I am sure, will be reduced by any party in power. We can only hope that this bill will be held up in the Senate and not become law, until some changes are made to it.

Anne