Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Kyoto's New Ally

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.

11 comments:

HearHere said...

Kyoto calls for -6% below 1990 levels.
It is the most draconian target of all of the signatories. Some countries have targets of PLUS 14% over 1990.
So, even though BC is called the "greenest plan" in North America it will still fall short of the Kyoto targets. Woefully so I'm afraid.

Steve V said...

"Woefully so I'm afraid"

No, it closes the gap on inaction and the 10% reduction in the extra eight years is significant. It gets us close, which is a HELL of alot more than the Harper hands in the air approach.

Anonymous said...

I just saw the BC Premier on TV and when asked if we should try to meet Kyoto he said it really doesn't matter. He was more interested in seeing us do something here at home. I think your title is quite misleading because he is not doing anything in the name of Kyoto.

wayward son said...

hearhere,

"Kyoto calls for -6% below 1990 levels. It is the most draconian target of all of the signatories."

Really?

Japan's target was -6%, same as ours

But almost every other industrialized country had a target more "draconian" then Canada's:

UK -8% below 1990 (from 1990 to 2004 they reduced emissions by 14%)
Germany -8% below 1990 (from 1990 to 2004 they reduced emissions by 17%)
Sweden -8% below 1990
Luxembourg -8% below 1990
France -8% below 1990
Italy -8% below 1990
Greece -8% below 1990
Netherlands -8% below 1990
Portugal -8% below 1990
Finland -8% below 1990
Belgium -8% below 1990
Austria -8% below 1990
Ireland -8% below 1990
Spain -8% below 1990
Denmark -8% below 1990

Could it be that another head in the sand conservative doesn't have a clue what he or she is talking about? Woefully so I'm afraid.

Anonymous said...

Um...

And how many of those nations are net energy (read: oil) exporters?

Seems like your head is in the sand wayward son.

There are Liberals out there who oppose Kyoto or recognize that it is time to move beyond and come up with something more realistic.

Yet, I don’t see any party (except the Green's) talk the real tough talk. Carbon tax...Green tax shifting etc. Only one leadership hopeful mentioned those words.

I’m not sure if it is wise for our party to fight an election over Kyoto.

Steve V said...

"I think your title is quite misleading because he is not doing anything in the name of Kyoto."

Literally no, but practically these measures counter the naysayers who only talk of "long term". If B.C. actually meets these targets then change will have to come quickly.

I have said many times that meeting the Kyoto targets is largely unrealistic at this point, but that fact doesn't detract from actually trying. Initiatives like these tell the world Canada is quite serious, and given our somewhat unique circumstance, these goals are reasonable. The Conservative meme is we would destroy our economy with tough, quick change, we need to be "realistic". The B.C. example suggests we can make a huge dent in a practical way, and in this way Kyoto defenders have some ammunition.

Steve V said...

"I just saw the BC Premier on TV and when asked if we should try to meet Kyoto he said it really doesn't matter."

And, I agree with this, the debate isn't Kyoto, it's getting something done, that works for Canada. It just so happens alot of what is proposed use the same baseline and the percentages aren't completely alien.

Miles Lunn said...

These targets won't meet Kyoto on time, but had we introduced as aggressive a targets earlier we could have met Kyoto and at least with these type we can get a lot closer. Off course for Harper he likes to use it is too difficult to achieve so he can do nothing.

Interestingly enough that is one more centre-right politician to jump on the environment bangwagon (David Cameron, Arnold Schwartznegger) and I am sure there are others. Off course Harper seems to want to join in with the worse ones, i.e. Bush, Cheney, and Howard.

Steve V said...

"at least with these type we can get a lot closer"

It's an effort, as opposed to the hands are tied, think long, long term crowd.

lance said...

Steve, long term is no longer an option.

The gov't is required to implement Kyoto now (or will be once Senate and GG pass and sign it).

BC better come up with a different plan, one that hits 33% in 5 years.

Anonymous said...

... and putting together a plan will gaurantee that the targets are met?