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Canada's Kyoto Climate Change Plans - A Short Review

Canada's federal government indicated serious  intent to take part in the Kyoto Protocol in 1997 when it signed on.  An  analysis of the implications to Canada's emissions of greenhouse gases and her economy was initiated early in 1998. About 450 "expert" stakeholders from industry, federal government departments, provincial governments, and environmental organizations were drawn into the "National Climate Change Process" (NCCP) to oversee and guide the analysis.  The studies were brought to a close in mid 2002. Canada ratified and committed to the Kyoto Protocol late in 2002. NCCP study results are documented on a federal government website.

In my opinion the studies were terminated prematurely. The results indicated the economic cost to meet Kyoto would be trivial. Indeed, they indicated Kyoto could be achieved for a mere couple of billion dollars per year in comparison to our national economy of about one trillion dollars. At the time the resulting plan was made public, I submitted an article to the Globe and Mail which explained how the analyses had become distorted and unrealistic and urged a delay in ratification. Unfortunately our Prime Minister of the day was so eager to ratify Kyoto that I withdrew the article when it became nearly instantly obsolete.

That first plan, titled "Climate Change Plan for Canada" was published about November of 2002. As detailed in the article referred to above, it was based on faulty analysis of the effectiveness of proposed measures. The inclusion of a $10/tonne cost of carbon dioxide  in the analysis ensured the calculated effect on the economy, and the scare factor for Canadians, would be very small.

Some initiatives from the plan were undertaken, and more study was undertaken of some of the measures proposed. Unfortunately it is very difficult for the public to trace those actions now that  the  main government websites on climate change have been closed.

A second plan, titled "Project Green: Moving Forward on Climate Change - A Plan for Honouring our Kyoto Commitment" was issued in 2005. This plan builds on the previous one and again repeats the mantra that Kyoto can be met with a federal expenditure of about $2 billion per year. Canadians should note that careful caveat. The plan does not highlight the expense they might be expected to pay directly through purchase of more efficient cars, home efficiency retrofits, etc. The plan does not underscore  added costs for fuel and other industrial products that would be passed on to consumers from the emissions credit purchases they would be involved in.

I'm sure many will be wanting to compare the Conservative governments much anticipated environmental plan with these previous plans from the Liberal government.  Since those plans are now hard to find on the Internet, I'm providing a link to both. Climate Change Connection in Manitoba has posted them on their website under Government Publications. I commend Climate Change Connection for their foresight in providing these plans to the public. Who could have guessed they would disappear from government websites?

In closing, I note that providing the above link to Climate Change Connection is in no way an endorsement of the opinions and position taken on their website nor is any endorsement of the plans intended. This article and the link to Climate Change Connection are provided as an aid to Canadians  who look for climate change information on the Internet.

Duane Pendergast (06/10/02)


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