The political implications of British Columbia’s aggressive greenhouse gas package is profound. Those that defend Kyoto now have a practical ally, those that throw up their hands are faced with a contradiction. Under Kyoto, Canada was supposed to reduce emissions by 7% in 2012, based on 2000 levels. The government of British Columbia proposes a 10% reduction by 2020, based on 2000 levels- very Kyoto-esque. Emissions in British Columbia have rose above the national average, 35% since 1990. This reality suggests the Tory argument, that Canada can’t meet commitments because of the Liberal failure, are over-stated. If British Columbia can propose an agenda to reduce emissions so much in a comparable time frame, then why can’t Canada as a whole? Important to note, no where do we see carbon trading in the British Columbia proposals to artificially reduce emissions. Translation Mr. Baird, no hot air credits to Russia, no billions lost.
Today, the House of Commons goes through third-reading of the Liberal motion to support Kyoto’s principles. The timing of the ambitious British Columbia proposals provide powerful weight for Kyoto’s proponents. The word doable has found concrete application, and the Conservatives are put on the defensive. The “economic ruin” crowd is also neutered, unless of course they subscribe to the view the Campbell government endorses suicide.
The British Columbian approach is a model for the country as a whole. It demands almost immediate action to reach long-term objectives, objectives that resurrect the spirit of Kyoto. Simple pessimism about targets is revealed as a way to mask inaction. I have a strong feeling that the Kyoto debate has just found a practical champion.