Seven Years Today Kyoto Came Into Force- Celebrating an Anniversary and Exposing Government Fictions

OTTAWA - Elizabeth May, MP Saanich-Gulf Islands and Leader of the Green Party, today held a press conference  in the Charles Lynch Press Theatre to celebrate the 7th Anniversary of the Kyoto Protocol coming into force – and to set the record straight on the prime minister’s anti-Kyoto, Axis-of-Oil agenda. 

“This should be a day to celebrate the fact that seven years ago humanity began to act together to prevent the grave dangers caused by increased greenhouse gas emissions,” said May.  “But the prime minister’s plan to pull out of Kyoto, in spite of the accord`s support by most Canadians, makes it a day of mourning instead.

“Our international reputation is tragically diminished.  This week, Brazil, South Africa, China, and India condemned Canada for its decision to withdraw, saying it ‘seriously’ brings into question our credibility in dealing with the very real threat of climate change.

In regard to the withdrawal from Kyoto, Environment Minister Peter Kent has stated that, if it remains, Canada risks having to pay $14 billion in compliance costs for not achieving its Kyoto targets.

“This is spin, designed to confuse Canadians,” said May.  “Hypothetically, if we were to decide we wanted to meet the 2012 target Harper repudiated back in 2006, when he cancelled all programmes to reach the Kyoto target, it would only be possible through buying credits.  These credits might cost the $14 billion Kent has claimed, but no one in their right mind would demand such a thing, and there is nothing in the Kyoto Protocol to force Canada to spend a dime.”

“Prime Minister Harper and his cabinet are playing fast and loose with the facts in order to convince Canadians that developing the oil sands, one of the world’s largest polluters, and allowing state enterprises of China to own and export bitumen crude production is good for our country.

“They claim that this won`t really hurt Canada’s national security and the already-overheated atmosphere, but let’s look at reality.”

Minister of Natural Resources Joe Oliver stated in the House on February 14 that:  “We should be proud of the fact that greenhouse gas emissions (in the oil sands) have been reduced by 30 percent over the last 10 years.” In fact, in 2005, the Pembina Institute reported that the oil sands released 37 megatonnes of GHGs, compared with 23 megatonnes in 2000.

Also, since the level of production is set to significantly increase, Environment Canada has predicted that GHG emissions will triple from 30 million tonnes in 2005 to 92 million tonnes in 2020. 

If the Minister meant to say per barrel emissions have gone down, he was correct until recently. In 2010, even the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers admitted that per barrel GHG emissions rose by two percent over 2009 levels due to the increase of in situ production. That same year, total emissions increased by 14 percent. 

Last year, the Harper Conservatives had to admit that they deliberately left out data from their annual UN inventory indicating that oil sands emissions had gone up. 

At the same time, Minister Oliver told the House of Commons that the oil sands industry will create “$3 trillion in economic activity”, generating “hundreds of billions of dollars for government services to Canadians ... and over 700,000 jobs a year over the next 25 years.”

“Are we to believe that China is investing in Canada for altruistic reasons?” asked May.  “We know that Sinopec purchased almost 10 percent of Syncrude, giving it a veto on that company’s right to keep jobs in Canada.  The Enbridge-China pipeline-and-tanker scheme will provide some temporary construction jobs, but it`s designed to take refining jobs from Canada.  Keystone XL, if it goes through, will do the same.

 “Experts have testified in committee that this approach has already been harmful to Canadian refineries, which have lost 10,000 jobs since 1989. So it sounds like the jobs and the profits will be leaving the country.

“Canadians need to know the truth about Kyoto and the Axis of Oil, and pressure the prime minister to stop the fiction.  One final distortion is that we are already out of Kyoto. Not true. We have only filed a legal notice of intent to withdraw.  It won’t take legal effect until December 2012.  Let’s cancel that notice and start being responsible global citizens.”

Greens are urging Canadians to go to sign up and keep Canada in Kyoto.


Contact Information:
Rebecca Harrison