Can We Stick with Kyoto?

There’s a lot of dis-information in today’s Globe, especially from Jeffrey Simpson,  re the supposed impossibility of Canada achieving our Kyoto commitments.  In fact, the Kyoto protocol clearly allows us to make up for any shortfall in domestic emission reductions through the Clean Development Mechanism.  As Matthew Bramley from the Pembina Institute told the Commons Committee on Bill C-288 (which rightly seeks to re-affirm our Kyoto commitments), we have the option of financing cost-effective emission reductions in poor countries which would have just as great a positive impact on the global climate as reductions in our domestic emissions. It would have been far, far  better to have brought in a real plan to reduce domestic emissions, and we should still push that lever as hard as we can to meet our targets, but – as Bramley has said – it is neither “wasteful nor shameful” to purchase bona fide international credits as provided for in the Kyoto Protocol.

In short, it is probably true that we cannot reduce our domestic emissions to reach our 2008-2012 target (they are now more than one third above the target level due to Liberal inaction, and still rising fast), but it does not follow that we have to break our Kyoto commitment. Nor should we do so given that this is the only international framework we have to address the key issue of our times.

5 comments

  • Why are we so transfixed on achieving our miniscule targets? They make up a small fraction of emissions in the world. The 2 largest polluters in Canada are both coal burning hydro electric plants. China is in the process of building or operating over 500 plants within the next several years. Add the skyrocking automobile industry in China and India to the mix and anything we do in Canada won’t even be measurable on the world stage. We should use our financial resourses and expertise and send that to China and India and help them develop alternative sources of power and fuel. Kyoto is a political football. Always has been and always will be. And to waste any more energy on this rediculous document is complete waste of time.

  • In short, it is probably true that we cannot reduce our domestic emissions to reach our 2008-2012 target (they are now more than one third above the target level due to Liberal inaction, and still rising fast), but it does not follow that we have to break our Kyoto commitment.

    I rather thought it did.

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  • In response to Stephen, our Kyoto obligation is to reduce domestic emissions OR to buy equivalent international credits – technically and legally we are in compliance by doing the latter.

  • I think we can – Have faith.

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