A Tory Kyoto Protocol Primer

   
White Rock B.C. - Saturday, March 5 2005 - by: Brian Marlatt
  Kyoto Protocol Primer: - Progressive Conservative Position and Short Annotated Bibliography referencing other data and party positions (CA and NDP).

 

  1. Progressive Conservative Party stance as summarized in 2002 by Susan Elliott.  John Herron was the PC Party Environment Critic and, prior to December 2003, the longest serving Environment Critic in parliament.
  2. A Short Annotated Bibliography Concerning the Kyoto Protocol Prepared in October 2003.   Brian Marlatt.
   

 

1. Environment critic John Herron makes the following points about the Kyoto Protocol:
 
  • Global warming is a genuine threat, but without US participation, any climate change agreement is fundamentally lacking and this country's competitiveness and economic growth are threatened. The PC government faced a US government that was sceptical about Acid Rain, but we were not deterred. The Americans were brought into an accord.

  • It was only on the eve of the Prime Minister's show-off G-8 Summit in Kananaskis that the Liberal government even began to pay attention to climate change. They are now trying to do five years of work in five months, but they have not been able to produce any credible report including an impact analysis done province-by-province and sector-by-sector, or regulations on implementation. There is no plan.

  • Without such a plan, we cannot assume genuine commitment to dealing with climate change by this government. Industry - a crucial partner to any successful plan - still has no knowledge of economic penalties under Kyoto and no opportunity to benefit from any incentives for early action

  • Liberal policy on the environment has been haphazard and has relied on reactionary politics and Throne Speech promises. Canadians cannot possibly be interested in the government ratifying an accord they have no intention of implementing. We have a target and a time line but no idea of how to get there. On climate change, on endangered species, on air quality and safe water, Canadians deserve to have environmental decision-making that pairs economic and environmental considerations and makes them a priority.

  • While the Prime Minister pontificates in Johannesburg, Canadians have no idea what behavioural changes are expected of them. While research indicates that Canadians favour a plan to deal with climate change, they deserve leadership from their government on how to contribute.
   
BACKGROUND ON THE KYOTO PROTOCOL
 
  • Canada agrees to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 6% below 1990 levels by 2012. This would represent a 26% reduction from projected 2012 levels. Two years ago, Canada surpassed its 1990 levels by close to 20%.

  • The government has announced initiatives aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions by more than 23.7 million tonnes before 2010, which is a 4% decrease.

  • Canada has been pushing for changes to get credit for green space, called "carbon sinks", in an effort to reach its emission targets. That plan would award Canada points for the way forests and agriculture absorb greenhouse gases. Canada has also asked for more clean-energy export credits for the natural gas and electricity it sells to the US. However, the European Union has told Canada to stop asking for more lenient treatment.

  • The Premiers are asking for a First Minister's meeting. While all are committed to action on climate change, they want clarification on how the Kyoto plan will affect them before it is ratified.

  • Industry is worried that Kyoto imposes absolute targets on only a small number of countries, which could mean a shift in investment away from Canada to countries not bound by targets, especially with the US not planning to ratify.
  • Other groups strongly support ratification, stressing the importance of international action in light of the global nature of the problem. In the absence of ratification, there could be little incentive for action.
   
  Source:  Susan Elliott, Executive Director, Strategy and Election Readiness Group Directrice exécutive, Groupe d'encadrement stratégique et de préparatifs électoraux, Progressive Conservative Party of Canada.  2002.
   
  2. A Short Annotated Bibliography Concerning the Kyoto Protocol Prepared in October 2003.  Prepared by Brian Marlatt.
 
Canada and the Kyoto Accord: Focus and Context.

Focus: The political, economic, and environmental dimensions of debate on the Kyoto Protocol in Canada.

Context:  In a November 2002 debate between Canadian Alliance MP Bob Mills and Suzuki Foundation Outreach Coordinator Alex Boston concerning the merits or deficiencies of Canada's then-pending ratification of the Kyoto Protocol, each claimed to represent the interests and opinions of Canadians. Mills argued that Kyoto is a Eurocentric bureaucratic nightmare with clear economic costs for Canadians and unproven environmental benefit and therefore should not be ratified until the implications are better understood. Boston argued that Kyoto ratification will encourage technological innovation with corresponding economic and environmental benefits while failure to ratify will have high corresponding costs. Both debaters claimed public support for their positions. The works cited in the annotated bibliography would contribute to research intended to evaluate their positions.
   
 

Canada and the Kyoto Accord

 

Annotated Bibliography

   
 
  1. Addison, Steven. "Kyoto Debate Driven Home. Peninsula Crowd Hears Both Sides of Protocol." Peace Arch News. 16 Nov. 2002: A3.

  2. News report of a public debate concerning the politics, economics, and environmental costs of Canadian ratification or non-ratification of the Kyoto Accord, held in White Rock, B.C. 13 November 2002. Bob Mills, M.P. for Red Deer, Alberta, Canadian Alliance Environment Critic and former Canadian Wildlife Service field manager debated Alex Boston, David Suzuki Foundation Outreach Coordinator for Climate Change Programs.

  3. Blomqvist, Ake. "A Comment on ?The Kyoto Protocol: Implications of a Flawed But Important Environmental Policy?." Canadian Public Policy 27.2 2001: 234-7.

  4. Dr. Blomqvist, an economist at the University of Western Ontario, challenges the concern raised by University of Alberta sociologist Sandra Rollings-Magnusson a sociology graduate student at the University of Alberta, and Robert Magnusson, a student in the U of A Faculty of Law, that Kyoto ratification without modification will place Canada under an unfair burden of cost. Blomqvist argues that their concern is overstated, that Canadian free trade experience suggests that economic dislocations and job losses are likely to be short-term, and that their proposed system of "emissions rights" auctions can be accomplished without reopening the treaty.

  5. Canada. Indian and Northern Affairs. Support For Kyoto Agreement. Ottawa : Indian and Northern Affairs. 10 Feb. 2003. 26 Sept. 2003. <

  6. Statistics reporting Canadian First Nations (FN) support for or opposition to federal government commitment to the Kyoto Agreement are recorded along with figures for the General Population (GP). Scaled samples record 69% FN support compared to 79% GP, 16% FN opposition compared to 14% GP, and significantly higher percentage of FN Don't Know/Refusal to Answer responses, 11% FN vs 1% GP.

  7. D'Aquino, Thomas. "A Business Case For Responsible Climate Change." Policy Options 24.1 Dec. 2002-Jan. 2003: 50-2.

  8. Tom D'Aquino, president and CEO of the Canadian Council of Chief Executives, claims that Canada's Kyoto commitment is arbitrary, politically motivated, without parallel in equivalent economies and societies, lacks a credible plan for implementation, is uncosted, will put Canada at a competitive disadvantage, will not impact the environment significantly in the absence of participation by major Third World emitters of greenhouse gases or the United States, and is based on unproven assumptions. Representing the Canadian Coalition for Responsible Environmental Solutions, Mr. D'Aquino proposes an alternative plan providing for government and industry participation in "emission performance agreements". The paper is based on an address to Canadian parliamentarians in November 2002.

  9. Rollings-Magnusson, Sandra. "A Rejoinder to the Comments of Dr. Ake Blomqvist." Canadian Public Policy 27.2 2001: 239-40.

  10. Rollings-Magnusson replies to economist Ake Blomqvist's criticism of her joint paper with Robert Magnusson concerning the economic burden to Canada of Kyoto Protocol ratification, suggesting that Blomqvist underestimates the burden and the disadvantage if Kyoto is not renegotiated to achieve more equitable terms.

  11. Rollings-Magnusson, Sandra and Robert Magnusson. "The Kyoto Protocol: Implications of a Flawed But Important Environment Policy." Canadian Public Policy 26.3 2000: 345-58.

  12. The authors' analysis of the Kyoto Protocol centres on alleged "technical deficiencies, ambiguities, and contradictions" within the "deceptively simple" legal text of the Protocol. The emissions trading regime, in particular, is said to lack clarity and precision and thus may lead to an inequitable burden of cost to Canada. Canada's specific circumstance is said to be complicated by historical high levels of foreign investment and foreign corporate ownership complicated by the current free trade environment. The authors recommend that Canada delay Kyoto ratification until a more equitable burden of emissions costs is negotiated. Solutions are proposed, including "emission rights" auctions. Sandra Rollins-Magnusson is a graduate student in the Faculty of Sociology; Robert Magnusson is a student in the Faculty of Law at the University of Alberta.

  13. May, Elizabeth. "From Montreal to Kyoto, How We Got To Here From There Or Not." Policy Options 24.1 Dec. 2002-Jan. 2003: 14-8.

  14. Elizabeth May, Executive Director of the Sierra Club of Canada, lawyer, and senior advisor to Environment Minister Tom McMillan from 1986-1988 in the Progressive Conservative government of Brian Mulroney, responds to the general claim that Canada has rushed to ratify Kyoto in undue haste. May traces the path from Environment Canada's 1987 Montreal Protocol research recommendations on ozone depletion, to the 1988 Toronto conference on the implications of climate change hosted by the Government of Canada, to Canada's scientific and political leadership at the Rio Earth Summit in 1992, to the 2002 Johannesburg commitment of Prime Minister Chretien to ratify Kyoto before years' end. May argues that short-term political and economic interests need to be balanced with projected long-term outcomes and environmental considerations based on science. May suggests further that Canada's ratification assumes even greater material and moral significance to the success of Kyoto following the Bush administration withdrawal from the treaty.

  15. "NDP on Kyoto." NDP Homepage. 27 Nov. 2002. 25 July 2003.

  16. Statement of New Democratic Party support for the Kyoto Protocol and definition of the NDP plan for reducing greenhouse gas emissions to fulfil Canada's Kyoto commitment. Key points include: a national alternative energy strategy; a mandate for alternative fuels; a job-to-job transitions strategy to mitigate energy sector dislocations; federal/provincial/municipal partnership; renewed emphasis on urban transit; "green" technology initiatives; federal tax reform to redirect energy consumption and commerce away from fossil fuels; and, aggressive public relations.

  17. Stephenson, Dale E.. "Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Emissions Trading In North America: Kyoto Treaty and U.S. Initiatives." Canada-United States Law Journal 28.43 2002: 43-54.

  18. Dale Stephenson, a U.S. attorney specializing in environmental law, summarizes the challenges to U.S. ratification and implementation of the Kyoto Protocol from an American perspective. Stephenson observes that the U.S. response is a measured balance between the perceived environmental cost of global warming and the economic cost of implementation of Kyoto objectives, particularly where competing Third World economies responsible for higher greenhouse gas emissions are non-participants in Kyoto. Stephenson presents the case for North American "emissions trading" as a means to secure American participation and notes the necessity of an integrated US-Canada approach in light of the integration of the US and Canadian energy sectors. The Bush Administration's alternative plan is summarized along with statements of its merits and deficiencies.

  19. Sullivan, Patrick and Louise Gagnon. "Ottawa Enjoys Broad MD Support as Kyoto Protocol Ratified." Canadian Medical Association Journal 168.3 2003: 326.

  20. Sullivan and Gagnon report in the 2/4/2003 Nouvelles Section of the CMAJ that Outlaw's ratification of Kyoto has received the broad support of CMA MDs and provincial medical associations, but has not generally been a major issue. The exception is Alberta where there is concern Kyoto economic impacts may affect health care funding negatively; they note, as well, that the Alberta Medial Association rushed to support a public health physician fired for criticizing the Klein government's anti-Kyoto stance. Levels of knowledge, concern, and variables determining outlook are indicated according to region and provincial medical association via reported anecdotal evidence and official statements.

  21. Torrie, Ralph, David Parfett, and Paul Steenhof. Kyoto and Beyond: The Low-Emission Path to Innovation and Efficiency. Vancouver: David Suzuki Foundation, 2002.

  22. Commissioned by the David Suzuki Foundation, the report by Ralph Torrie, David Parfett and Paul Steenhof of Torrie Smith Associates proposes a path by which Canadian greenhouse gas emissions may be reduced by 50% over twenty-eight years. Addressing both energy generation and non-energy generation related aspects of greenhouse gas emission, the report focuses on efficiencies in oil and gas and electrical energy production, encouragement of renewable non-greenhouse gas emitting energy alternatives, and reduction of energy consumption through changes to residential and commercial building standards, changes to transportation patterns and methods, and other classical alternative approaches to innovation and efficiency as a means to exceed Kyoto targets over a twenty-eight year period. Tables, charts and graphs. 121pp.

  23. Urquhart, Ian. "Kyoto and the Absence of Leadership in Canada's Capitals." Policy Options 24.1 Dec. 2002-Jan. 2003: 23-6.

  24. Ian Urquhart, a political scientist at the University of Alberta, provides an assessment of the politics of opposition to the Kyoto Protocol in Canada in the energy producing western Canadian provinces, particularly Alberta, and the corresponding insufficiency of arguments offered by federal government Kyoto proponents. Alberta's provincial government argues that any decrease in energy consumption will have dire consequences for the provincial economy and presents ratification of Kyoto as an imposition by Ottawa similar to the 1980s National Energy Program. Ottawa, for its part, appears to be prepared to go ahead with Kyoto ratification without an acknowledged plan for implementation or addressing the concerns of its critics. Urquart provides examples of achievement of Kyoto targets within the petroleum industry counter to the worst case scenarios frequently discussed and highlights the need for interprovincial and federal provincial co-operation.
   
   

Brian Marlatt

   

 

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