We Need a Better Understanding of How This New Plan Will Effect Our Lives
Saturday February 17th 2007, 11:27 am

I don’t think the average person understands very much about global warming and greenhouse gas emissions in Canada. I think the government needs to explain in plain language to the average Canadian exactly how their plans and the plan of the new legislation will effect us. We need concrete unbiased examples and details about how the plan will impact our lives, the economy and lead to a cleaner environment in Canada. I don’t think that we understand what the emission credits are, or whether Canada has bought any yet, and how this will effect our Kyoto targets. As soon as this new legislation has been passed by the Senate and becomes law, we need more information.

I looked up some information on the internet, and I know that individuals in Canada produce more than a quarter of our total emissions, or five tonnes from each person a year. I really didn’t pay much attention to the One-Tonne Challenge campaign, or Rick Mercer’s rant, because I find him annoying, but I now realize that the government wanted us to reduce our individual emissions by 20%. They didn’t even address the main source of the emissions, which is industry and especially, the oil industry. Half of the emissions from individuals comes from driving our cars. If we drive 20,000 km a year in a mid-sized sedan, we will produce four tonnes of carbon dioxide. An SUV produces six tonnes. There are several suggestions on the Environment Canada website on how to reduce our personal emissions, and most people have probably already done some of them in the past few years.

In Canada, energy production and consumption creates 81% of the emissions, and traffic creates 19% of our emissions. Alberta and Ontario have the worst emissions, and Saskatchewan, New Brunswick and Alberta had the greatest increase in emissions in the past ten years. Canada increased emissions by 26% in the past ten years. It has been eight years since we signed the Kyoto treaty, so whatever we tried to do during that time, didn’t work.

You can understand Stephen Harper’s reluctance to put much effort into reducing greenhouse gas emissions, because the biggest culprit is the Alberta oil industry. The oil industry has known for years that they must reduce their gas emissions eventually, but I guess procrastinating puts more money into their pockets. The average Canadian hasn’t been concerned enough about global warming because it would mean warmer seasons, and we think that is a good thing. We believe that extreme weather hasn’t been that bad so far, so maybe we can live with it, after all we don’t live in Florida. In the long run, it will be the poorer nations which will be more effected than the rich countries, by the weather extremes, so we must start to think more about it.

It is time that industry in Canada and the United States put more effort into reducing their greenhouse gas emissions, but expecting a 35% reduction by 2012 appears extreme. We just need information in order to make a decision on how reasonable this new law will be. This information will effect the way I vote in the next election, and I am sure it will also make a difference to most Canadians.

Anne