Sunday, April 30, 2006

Conservatives Plan To Do Zip On Emissions

Recent polling puts the environment among the top three priorities for Canadians. So far the Conservative government has essentially pulled out of Kyoto, endorsed the useless Asia-Pacific Partnership and cut funding for environmental initiatives. More alarming, the Conservatives plan to do absolutely nothing on the environment file during this parliament:
"She has publicly said Canada will not engage in post-2012 commitments until after Canada has developed a new plan," Matthew Bramley of the Pembina Institute said in an interview.

Government officials say such a plan is at least a year away, which is unacceptable given the urgent need to take action, Bramley believes. "There are no mysteries about how to reduce emissions," he said. "It's been studied to death all around the world. There's no excuse to waste time dreaming up a new plan."

Earlier this month, a coalition of environmental groups sent the government a list of programs that could be put into place immediately. These include incentives for energy efficiency, wind power and other renewable energy technologies and regulating industrial greenhouse gas emissions.

There is some public pressure on the issue, since a large majority of Canadians and their elected representatives support Kyoto and the need for emissions cuts.

"It's like being back in the early 1990s when we were begging politicians to do something about climate change," said Bennett.

At "least a year away" translates into a big nothing for a minority government, with a limited life span. The fact that the Conservatives plan to put off action on emissions until after the next election should serve as a warning sign to Canadians. All this government will be able to present to Canadians are cutbacks, withdrawals from commitments and Bush-like rhetoric.

Of all the issues on the horizon, the Conservatives backward attitude on emissions serves as the most glaring weakness to be exploited. It is imperative that the Liberal Party finds a way to seriously champion the environment through the leadership process. Canadians are ripe for bold ideas and Harper's complete inaction will serve as a massive failure. The Liberals need a "vision" and our environment desperately needs a caretaker. Perfect fit, with the added bonus of exposing the Harper government's inaction, unless of course parroting the Bush approach is considered policy.

It looks like the Tories are aware they have a weak spot heading into the next election. Prediction, alot of fluff, little substance.


Mark Francis said...

I can't believe that they are brazen enough to try to pull this off.

How can the most pressing issue of our times NOT be a priority?

HearHere said...

Rona Ambrose has been on at least 6 talk shows I have seen and heard in the past week. Their environmental plan is going to be significant. Greenhouse gases (which have increased by 26% since singning Kyoto) is just one component. Clean air (pollution) is a huge focus for them along with clean water. They are hugely interested in alternative and renewable energy and technology.

They are looking at getting involved in a coalition of countries to focus on this which includes India and China, as well as the US the largest emitters which Kyoto does not.

They did not renew 15 programs which were set to expire at the end of March anyways after an analysis by the dept. showing these programs did not get the results neccesary to justify them. Many of these programs flowed money to Liberal advertising agencies and paid grants to lobbyists.

I was quite impressed by the Minister and I think you should realize that the PM is extremely environmentally concious and the mandate is that environmental concerns have to cross all ministries.

Since many of the regulatory measures they want to introduce impact industries and provinces they are in deep discussions with the various stakeholders and Ms. Ambrose says she is very confident that the motivation is there.

Shall be interesting to see this unfold.