Sunday, April 10, 2005

Kyoto is dead!

The Kyoto treaty on climate change, which was ratified by Canada in 2002, came into force last February. Ratification of the Kyoto Protocol in 2002 could potentially turn into a political suicide for the Liberals and an economic suicide for the Canadians. This international treaty that was originally supported by 174 countries, was drafted in 1997 to reduce the production of the greenhouse gases and minimize the adverse impacts of a future global warming.

The Kyoto protocol is based on the assumption that the global warming phenomenon is caused by the accumulation of greenhouse gases and can be decelerated if the man kind produces less of these gases. The protocol establishes a legally binding obligation for industrialized countries to reduce their emissions of greenhouse gasses by at least five percent below 1990 levels by 2008-2012.

Although there seems to be a correlation between the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and the earth’s temperature over the past two centuries, the scientists cannot reach a consensus as to what really is causing the temperature rise. Countries such as the United States and Australia pulled out of the Kyoto Protocol partially because they don’t find the evidence supporting the greenhouse gas theory compelling. Honorable David Anderson, the former minister of the environment on his visit to University of Toronto in spring 2004 told the students that Canada believes that even if there is only a 50% chance that greenhouse gases are the cause of climate change, we should take action and recognize our commitment.

Canada, Japan and the Netherlands have ratified the protocol to show their support for the common good of human kind. However, altruism without an effective implementation plan will fail in the international arena and at home.

Russia recently announced its approval of the Kyoto Protocol, despite its previous decision to follow US and Australia. Russia's recent arrival in support of Kyoto means Canada has no handy excuse to back out, even though their big powerful neighbor is a Kyoto no-show. However, recently The Globe and Mail reported that only five of 15 European Union countries met the March 31 deadline to submit plans to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The only good news is that Germany, Europe's most industrialized country, is still committed to the treaty. But looking at the big picture, Kyoto, is nearly dead among the many countries that still allegedly support it.

Results from one macroeconomic modeling exercise indicate that for Canada to attain the targets GDP could be reduced anywhere from 1% to 3% in the short term and by 4% in the period beyond 2012. This is equivalent to the loss of roughly one year growth or approximately $40 billion ($1100 per capita)

The Canadian economy is very much dependent on the American market. Imposing taxes can easily throw our automotive industry and energy industry out of the market. Bringing energy efficient cars, insulated infrastructure and widely accessible public transportation requires a fundamental change of the nation’s lifestyle. Such change cannot happen overnight and may require decades of planning and policy development.

Canada’s choices for environmental preservation should not be limited to the Kyoto Protocol. The resources to be dedicated to Kyoto targets will be better spent solving air and water pollution problems and waste management dilemmas.

1 Comments:

At 12:23 AM, Blogger Farid said...

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