Time to fire up Alberta's own plan
Date: Wednesday, October 02 2002
Topic: International News
Time to fire up Alberta's own plan
By LICIA CORBELLA -- Calgary Sun
While former Alberta Premier Peter Lougheed was telling Albertans about his strategies to fight Kyoto -- which were basically wait and see -- wannabe premier Ken Nicol -- leader of the Alberta Liberals -- was telling a Sun editorial board why Kyoto is something we should all embrace.
Based on their oratory skills, something tells me Lougheed is going to win this battle, but ultimately Nicol will be on the side that wins the war and we'll all be much poorer for it.
To top it all off, we won't be any greener -- or rather cooler -- either. That's the hell of Kyoto. Consider this.
Park every plane, train and automobile in Canada. Close down every factory and every power plant in this country too. Stop all cows from belching and fluffing. And stop all humans and other mammals in Canada from breathing (after all CO2 --the main greenhouse gas -- is what we all exhale.) Do all that and how much would that help the world?
It would reduce the world's greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) by 2%. That's right, Canada is responsible for just 2% of the world's GHGs and yet WE have the toughest Kyoto targets. Is it just me or does that sound utterly insane?
And yet our legacy-lusting Prime Minister insanely pushes ahead.
Many of Canada's industries already employ best practices. Sure some have a long way to go before they can claim the same. But any improvements to Canadian industries, already using pretty advanced technology, will be incremental.
So before we look at Lougheed's limp strategy to battle Kyoto, let's first look at what Nicol suggests we all do to help Canada meet its Kyoto targets.
He suggests that we all turn off our cars when we're idling at a red light. He wants us all to change to compact florescent bulbs, drive smaller cars and turn down the thermostat.
What will those suggestions do to help Canada meet its Kyoto targets? Not much.
Having said that, they're not bad ideas. Most of the lightbulbs in my home are compact fluorescent. I recycle everything. I turn down the thermostat, service my furnace every year, etc.
Debby Carlson, MLA for Edmonton Ellerslie and the provincial Liberal's environment critic, says Albertans could collectively save more than $20 million in fuel costs and prevent 73,000 tonnes of CO2 emission from being pumped into the air just by reducing vehicle idling for three minutes a day.
Well, I'm certainly going to do better in that regard, but it will do very little towards helping Canada meet its Kyoto target to reduce GHG emissions to 6% below 1990 levels by 2012.
After all, if the entire transportation sector never moved again -- that means every plane, train and automobile in Canada -- we would barely meet our Kyoto targets.
According to Environment Canada figures, total Canadian transportation GHG emissions in 2000 were 179 mega-tonnes (Mt). Total GHGs were 726 Mt., which is 19.6% higher than the 1990 level of 607 Mt.
As for Lougheed, it sounds like he doesn't have much of a plan to attack the feds' non-plan. And who can blame him? Well, I've got one for him and for Premier Ralph Klein.
Simply inform Ottawa that Alberta will start implementing its own plan to reduce GHG emissions. Other than that, we simply will not comply with orders from the PMO.
Kyoto is an international protocol. Who is going to enforce compliance? Russia? Great Britain? What are they going to do, bomb us if we fail to meet our targets and then fail to pay the monetary penalties?
The feds will be the ones who will have to enforce Kyoto by taxing Albertans further. Since Alberta is already one of Canada's only two net contributors to the national piggy bank, we should reverse the onus. Simply refuse to help collect any further taxes for Ottawa for the purpose of Kyoto.
Actually, I have an even better idea. Threaten not to collect any taxes for Ottawa at all. Send the feds nothing.
What are they going to do, kick one of their only meal tickets out of Confederation?
One thing is clear, Lougheed's soft words and tactics will do nothing. It's time to play hardball. Hit 'em where it hurts.