Canada out of the Kyoto Protocol

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Was Canada ever even in? The Kyoto Protocol was adopted in 1997 in the city of the same name in Japan. The United States was the only holdout at the time, with Congress refusing to ratify the agreement under President Bill Clinton.

Canada’s Liberal government led by Jean Chretien bound Canada to the international accord at the time, promising to reduce Canada’s greenhouse gases (GHGs) by 6% of 1990 levels by 2012. The protocol has come under heavy criticism since as it provides exemptions for many emerging economies, namely India, China and Brazil. Further, the 1990 level was so pegged to satiate Russia’s demands to use the Soviet Union as the reference point to mark Russia’s future emissions against the Soviet era, pre-industrial and economic collapse.

Other criticisms of the protocol include carbon trading that were dismissed by our current Prime Minister as a socialist scheme, exchanging ‘pollutability’ for cash. Again, much of it to the Russian Federation.

The Protocol expires in 2012 and has largely been a symbolic icon of the progressive movements in Canada, the US, and Europe. Carbon emissions under Chretien (and Dion as his environment minister) actually increased. Again, the emissions under the next Liberal administration increased. In fact, between 1990 and 2005, Canada’s GHGs increased 25%. We should have spent money fashioning a statue of Gaia in our own image. Our vanity would have been satisfied, it would have been as effective, and it would have costed much less. As far as symbols go, it’s pedestal ‘footprint’ would have less of an environmental impact than that caused by sending our jobs and capital to emerging exempt economies.

It’s been reported today that Canada will not “renew” its “commitment” to the Kyoto Protocol. To do so would be foolish, as Canada is nowhere near meeting 1990 targets anytime soon. Further, a cap on industrial production would be foolish at a time of global economic fragility (not to mention coercive at any time).

The utility — either environmental or economic — of signing onto such an agreement has not been established. If humans face any challenge, global bureaucracy is certainly the most unagile method of addressing it. Kyoto seemed to be focused on special interests and side-deals rather than some superordinate goal.

Oh, was it mentioned that it’s a socialist scheme?

  • Alain

    I can only hope that it is true that Canada will withdraw from this global scam.  It has been a great money-maker for a few and made others poorer.  I suggest that a more important and dangerous challenge is global bureaucracy with national and local bureaucracy being a close second.

  • Liz J

    Maurice Strong and his Socialist brethren will be taking this badly no doubt. Good.

  • case dekker

    don’t renew this stupid kyoto protocol deal it only increases our taxes and decreases nothing like greenhouse gases or any other emissions

  • jon

    Practically, the accord’s targets could never be met, and the Media Party knew this when it was ratified. If there was no CPC gov’t, if Paul Martin was the current PM with the Libs in power for 18 consecutive years now, the Media Party would be attacking the gov’t's critics had that they not met the targets and, considering their sorry record on GHG reductions over their 13 years in power, would probably even be behind the Tory gov’t on the matter. 

    The CPC gov’t should try and get away with the same when they’re about to lose power. PMSH should muse — but only muse — about eliminating Canada’s $500 national debt over 10 years, something which, obviously is impractical if not outright impossible. And then, if knowing his gov’t faces certain defeat at the polls, pass legislation beore his gov’t fall to make it law. Let’s see if the Media Party demand the new Lib gov’t meet the 10 year debt-elimination target laid out by the previous gov’t, knowing full well, as with Kyoto, that that target could never be practically met…. instead of berating the gov’t in the bulk of the reporting, as they’re currently doing with the Harper gov’t, they instead would devote the weight of their reports to say that the previous gov’t had tied their hands — a point being made by the current gov’t by often downplayed in many reports and, in some cases, not even mentioned.

  • Matt

    Well, I guess it’s more than Peter Kent’s had to say on the subject so far…

  • DougM

    Good riddance.  I never did see a reason that we should pay for China’s nuclear Submarine program.   Particularly when they are attacking us with Cyber espionage.  If the world wants to get a program in place, then all players have to get onboard – not ust a few.

  • Anonymous

    I’ve heard Peter Kent speak on this 3 times, the latest this morning. Here’s this seasoned broadcast journalist, capable of professionally delivering any news, night after night… and every time I hear him he sounds as awkward as Paul Bernardo’s lawyer asking for early release. He knows.

    My problem with Canada’s stance isn’t that the government opposes some perfect agreement- Kyoto isn’t, by far – it’s that they’re using this as cover to do essentially nothing, let alone providing the slightest whiff of leadership or guidance to the world on this issue. And their approach allows, even encourages the doubters and kooks to wallow in their ignorance about longer-term issues of man-made warming, looming shortages of oil, and the issues of pollution in general. It also makes Canada barren ground for incubating alternative energy and environmental industries (except for Ontario), which are the next big business frontiers for succeeding generations.

    I should also mention that this stance, which amounts to a national shrug for the topic of responsible environmental stewardship, does not reflect the attitude of most Canadians, including small c conservatives.

    Oh, was it mentioned that it’s a socialist scheme?

    Stay classy, Stephen.

  • Anonymous

    Canada under fire over Kyoto protocol exit.

    From the analysis sidebar:

    Rather than heading for a 6% cut from 1990 levels by 2020, the Kyoto
    pledge, [Canada] was and still is set for a rise of about 16% – more like 30%
    if you include forestry. The obvious answer, to huge distain [sic] from
    critics, was to say they wouldn’t try meeting the target.

    Since then, the approach has been to copy the US line.
    Canada’s current pledge is exactly the same as the US one – a cut of 17%
    from 2005 levels by 2020 – with the proviso that the number will change
    if the US passes legislation with a different target.

    And as the US is outside Kyoto, Canada’s last act of mimicry was to leave as well.