Our stand on Kyoto in under one minute...

Elizabeth May

WHAT our Kyoto targets/commitments are:

Canada is legally bound under international law to a target of 6% below 1990 levels between 2008-2012 (with reductions achieved on average in each year)

WHY we should meet them (Other than being legally bound?): Because the necessary reductions in atmospheric carbon to avoid catastrophic local and global impacts will be at least 30% below 1990 by 2020, 50% by 2030, 80% by 2050. Missing our Kyoto targets places us in an even more difficult situation in the next phase. Further delay, denial, and procrastination is not an option.

HOW we will meet them; See the full list of actions within GP Squared. In short form : Get the prices right. Launch an energy productivity revolution. Eliminate subsidies to fossil fuels. Place a carbon tax on carbon emissions (upstream and downstream) Use the carbon tax revenue to reduce income and payroll taxes. Regulate for energy productivity improvements. Place a cap and trade system on large polluters. Develop a national transportation strategy to improve efficiency of the transport of goods and people. Modernize freight and passenger rail. Improve mass transit. regulate vehicle fuel consumption standards. Promote local food production and consumption. Promote decentralized local energy systems. District energy and co-gen. Geothermal and heat storage. Fuel switching, move to non-food crop ethanol (cellulosic). Accelerate uptake of renewables.

WHAT the effects on our economy will be. Depends on whether the approach is smart or stupid. Stupid is trying to pile "good" subsidies on top of "bad" subsidies to promote low carbon technologies...Smart is our plan. The four most productive economies in the EU all have carbon taxes. We are facing one of the largest business opportunities in the history of the world. developing renewables and energy miser systems. Ignoring the opportunity and clinging to the tar sands will hurt Canada's economy.

You did not ask "Can" we meet them? Due to years of inaction and action in the wrong direction (tar sands) we can no longer meet our targets entirely through domestic action. We can buy carbon credits through the Clean Development Mechanism (but only if the reductions are verifiable and reduce carbon emissions in developing countries.) Remember: the climate crisis is a global problem. A tonne of carbon reduced in Argentina or Vietnam has the same effect on the climate as a tonne of carbon reduced in Alberta or Nova Scotia. Verifiable CDM emissions reductions is sensible and economically rational (a tonne of carbon reduction being cheaper in developing countries than in Canada.) Helping developing countries avoid carbon emissions will pay dividends well into the future, while we catch up domestically.

Bottom line: Let's get started!! We have no idea how close to the target we can get until we start. If we cannot find adequate, defensible international credits, we can just take our lumps in the next commitment period, post-2012, where we will have a .3 tonne penalty added to each tonne in the next phase. We know the climate crisis is real and urgent. We know what causes it. We know we do not have much time. So let's get started! Elizabeth