Canada Pulls Out of Kyoto - what a shame.

I like to get my news from a few different sources, but one of my favourites is from the BBC. The last few days have had Canada in the headlines, and not in a very friendly light. "Canada under fire over Kyoto protocol exit" reads one headline. As well we should be. I was very disappointed when I heard the news we would be leaving.

So, what exactly is Kyoto, and why did Canada decide to leave?

The first part of the question is pretty easy. It's a binding protocol that is going into it's second stage, the goal of which is to reduce global carbon emissions. The basic idea is that you look at your carbon output in 1990, and aim to reduce carbon output, on average, by 5.2% from those levels. It's got compliance and recording mechanisms built into it, and also includes a fund to help developing countries adapt to climate change.

So, why did we leave?

Perhaps it's because we're one of the worlds biggest carbon dioxide emitters. And we have the single biggest industrial emitter of carbon on the planet in the Tar Sands in Alberta. Our addiction to dirty oil would mean we've got to make a lot of big cuts in other places to hit our targets.

Peter Kent, the minister of the environment, has said that it would cost $1,600 per person in Canada (or a whopping 13.6 billion dollars) to comply. I can't seem to figure out where he's getting this number from, or in what time frame we'd need to make those payments.

Either way, we're the only country to remove ourselves from Kyoto, and as such, we're sending a clear message to the world: We don't care about climate change, we care about getting all the oil we can from the tar sands.

And that's a shame. We should be at the front of this, innovating, and showing the world it can be done. Instead, we'll watch from the sidelines.

If only Peter Kent would listen to his own words from 1984, perhaps we'd be in a better situation. For now, take a minute to write your MP, sign a petition, or put it out there on facebook and twitter. The Green Party supports Kyoto fully, and I support it too.

Posted by Dave Estill on December 14, 2011 | Permalink


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