After U.N. climate talks in Durban, South Africa, produced yet another international commitment to wait a few more years before committing to anything, Canada has gone and done exactly what many feared it would do and pulled out of the Kyoto Protocol, making it the first country to formally do so. And today, the finger-pointing begins.
Promptly after returning from the talks in Durban, Canadian Environment Minister Peter Kent took to the airwaves, telling his country and the world that "Kyoto, for Canada, is in the past." Kent cited the usual reasons: the emissions standards don't cover the world's two biggest emitters--China and the United States--and that the onerous demands of Kyoto are causing Canada to lose its economic competitiveness. Then for good measure, he managed to get a few shots in at the Liberal government that preceded the current administration.
The criticism that Kyoto doesn't require anything legally binding from the U.S. (which refused to ratify it) and China (whose commitment to cut emissions is not legally binding) is an old and frequent one. Kent argued that global emissions would continue to rise as a result of this, even as Canada is forced to come up with roughly $14 billion to buy carbon credits abroad since the country is so far behind on its reductions.
Under the 1997 agreement--the only legally binding international agreement to cut carbon emissions--Canada was supposed to cut its greenhouse gas emissions to 6 percent below 1990 levels during the four years between 2008 and 2012. Right now it is something like 30 percent above the target. Hence, Kyoto is something of an albatross around the neck of the the Canadian government (and economy), and the country is now the first to bail on the agreement. That decision is drawing criticism from governments around the world. Even China is getting in on the ribbing, saying that Canada is going against the efforts of the international community to combat climate change.
So what does all of this mean? On its face, not much, as Canada isn't a huge emitter of greenhouse gases (though its contribution is growing). But it's a big blow to the Kyoto Protocol and could lead other countries facing their own economic problems to follow suit, emasculating the only binding international emissions reduction agreement ever ratified. The Durban talks mapped out a path to internationally binding emissions reduction standards, but those won't be agreed upon until 2015 and likely not implemented until 2020. In the meantime, Kyoto is the only tangible set of standards in place.
Nonetheless, Canada is out. "Kyoto is not the path forward for a global solution to climate change," Kent said. "If anything it's an impediment."
There are plenty of people out there questioning that statement--and Canada's motives--today. We'll have to wait and see if this move effectively spells the end of the Kyoto Protocol. More on this as it develops.
Very interesting and thought-provoking article. Although, is the first sentence written properly? I don't mean to be a stickler, but I had to reread it a few times.
"After U.N. climate talks in Durban, South Africa, produced yet another international commitment to wait a few more years before committing to anything..."
It's about time. We have been behind target since the protocol was established.
No dj-nate that sentence is correct of course you have to be a politician to understand it. You can phrase it this way "We are not going to commit to any action on climate control at this time, but we will commit to come back in a few years and talk about if we will commit to something at that time".
politics is nothing more than a bunch of school yard kids grabbing argueing on a play ground about whole stole wholes toys and each other running to their mommies cuz johnny won't share...its freaking retarded and why this world is DOOOMED...Politics will end this world not a plauge or fires...or earthquakes it will be politics...because we will never actually make a choice to save us all.....
As a Canadian I feel ashamed but at least we are not one of the top producers of greenhouse gases. I hope we(Canada) will get back on the wagon again in a few years. I will be doing my part to keep our atmosphere clean at least as an individual.
At last.... Long overdue. Somebody decided to do what is good for Canada, not for corrupted "international community.
I know its wrong but every time I hear news about Canada I think of south park
youre not alone dude ^^ lol
bored? lets go mine the stars... ^^
Just mine baby mine. Just drill baby drill. Just dig baby dig. Which is fine until mother nature fights back with 'just die humans die'.
The Kyoto treaty was doomed from the start, even if every country in the world had signed on. It only looked like it was working at first because of depressed economic conditions in Russia and then in the rest of the world.
The problem is that at present the alternatives to carbon-based fuel are too expensive, so the only real way to significantly reduce carbon emissions is to use less energy. A lot less. And with a growing population, the amount of energy use per capita would need to be reduced even more. No one has figured out how to accomplish these reductions without causing a big economic slowdown, so the alternative is to simply buy carbon credits. But has this shuffling around of money done any good? The levels of CO2 in the atmosphere have not gone down at all, instead they are going up faster.
What's best for Canada is what's best for the international community, and that is slowing and even stopping out CO2 emissions. The atmosphere is increasingly becoming an example of the Tragedy of the Commons. With everyone freely dumping crap into the atmosphere, the quality of our air is decreasing every day and I would like to see my children have the same quality air or better when they grow up.
Slow death. Greed and extra human brain power is our doom. Had not the aliens that visited our planet thousands of years ago and added their DNA to our DNA, just so we could be made into slaves and mine gold for them, none of this would of happen. We are typical animals of earth, living with the environment.
So instead we are no longer natural to earth and eventual with our own extra brain power we will push ourselves into extinction.
As a Canadian I have to say FINALLY, thank you Harper. This was long overdue. The Kyoto accord is pointless. It’s there to de-industrialize the world. And the biggest offenders don’t follow it..so why should Canada. Our economy is surviving right now, but just barely. We are a conservative country, that’s why we are not going bankrupt like the U.S and Europe. YET.
@Delkomatic, yeah me too. Terrance and Phillip are a hoot. And Celine is a national treasure.
All you individuals can do your part, but it won’t amount to squat. The biggest offenders are industry. Go tell the crystler plant to observe earth day so they can lose $5000 U.S a minute.
One step in the right direction. Humanity's contribution to global warming is insignificant, the Kyoto Protocol doesn't change much anyway and all we got out of it so far were terribly inflated prices for oh so "eco-friendly" energy and endless bills for pollution that's barely proven to have any effect. It's all just a giant hoax by those profiting from it.
Aldrons Last Hope,
The real solution is for us mutant earthlings to find our outer space home alien parents and contact them or at least observe them for awhile and see how they are doing.
Humans are the single most dominate powerful smartest animal on the planet. We do not belong here and it's obvious as we do not live in harmony with the living environment. We need to find our alien ancestors who did tweaking with our DNA and then grow in science to solve our problems.
Of course, if we introduce ourselves to our alien makers, they may look down on us as wonderful slaves to be taken.
I guess the ultimate goal is to move humanity to outer space and concur the goal of creating a artificial environment that earthlings can survive in, before we extinct ourselves on planet earth as with our greed and superior brains continue to destroy the natural living organism EARTH.
One thing that most people seem to overlook is the feasibility of an international treaty such as this, within Canada's governmental structure. Most environmental and economic powers do not lie within reach of the federal government. The constitution divides these areas up amongst the provinces. So you have provinces such as Alberta, who are dependent on energy revenues and would not be interested in agreements such as the Kyoto Accord. It does not matter if the federal government agrees to something. If the provinces have the regulatory control over most environmental and economic decisions, they are the ones with the say. If targets are set in future agreements, the government would need the provinces to individually guarantee the targets. Otherwise, we will end up with another Kyoto.
@Geewillikers, don’t worry earth was here before us and will be here after us, we can never destroy the earth. Unless we figure out how to create artificial black holes.
As much as i like the principles on paper, without legally binding regulations involving both the US and China, these protocols will never go anywhere.
Both US and China just sicken me. opting out of every serious environmental initiative while expecting everyone else to abide by them. The hypocrisy of all these parties is destroying the world (not just referring to environmental issues).
Yes, there is no way to implement these measures that isn't going to pinch a little economically. and during this current global downturn its going to pinch a little harder, but it still has to be done. Global warming or no, what is a fact is that air and water contamination is drastically on the rise. Reducing our carbon emissions also works to reduce the other contaminants that are produced during the same processes.
@Aldrons last hope - You are correct, its unlikely we can do anything that earth won't eventually recover from. However we are succeeding in making it uninhabitable for ourselves.
Global warming is not science, it's a money scam. Too bad America will not follow suit.
Finally at least one country has the wherewithal to call this treaty for what it is, a sham to extract money from those stupid enough to ratify it.
Here's to you, Canada!!!
Let's hope the rest of the world will gain some sanity from this laudable action by the Canadians.
I agree with you both, BillGuy and merlinus. It's a scheme for more government control. Hats off to you canadians, eh?
Aldrons Last Hope,
Your response is in absolute terms of my comments, suggestion the whole earth will die. I did not suggest the entire 100% whole earth will die. I do suggest we can continue to change our earthly environment to such an extreme we force the human species on earth to die though.
But I like you optimism that the earth cannot die; kudos for that!
We earthling defifinetly dominate the planet earth and we best develop a means to survive in an artificial manner to deal with our own problems. Achieving this will allow us to explore outer space and the cosmos and will ensure we humans do not be extinct on our own planet.
Merry Almost Happy Holliday Christmas Everyone!
If you are not religious, I do wish good thing for you and your families too!
The biggest hoax of all is that CO2 is even a significant contributor to the "greenhouse effect" when in fact it only amounts to about 4% (or was it 3%?) of total greenhouse effect in the atmosphere. There is a much more insidious chemical that no one seems to want to discuss banning, one that contributes a whopping 95% of the greenhouse effect that everyone seems to be panicking about. It's fascinating that no one talks about the effect of H2O, yes I said water, on the atmosphere. I guess people like having a scape-goat, and carbon dioxide is the one for the "global warming" lemmings.
Some of the largest evidence for CO2 causing global warming (greenhouse effect) relate to graphs indicating that, over the last 400,000 years or more, CO2 levels in the atmosphere coincide almost perfectly with average global temperatures (and even extinction rates).
That said, I can't be certain (personally) exactly what all we need to worry about -- perhaps CO2 is only a part of the problem, perhaps a large part, perhaps a small part -- but I think evidence suggests that, whatever the cause, global warming does and will occur and is a problem.
With regards to CO2 specifically, though, even if CO2 proves only a minimal concern for global warming, it's still a *big* problem for the acidification of the ocean, which *is* caused by CO2 in the atmosphere.
This acidification is already precipitating a massive extinction event in the ocean, not least of which being the coral reefs.
That alone is a serious cause for concern.
I think one thing that everyone should be able to agree on, though, is that we need to figure out truly green/renewable sources of energy, and likely fast. Because even if our abuse of fossil fuels is entirely harmless to the environment, we'll eventually run out of them. And if they are harmful, it's even more imperative we stop using them.
Renewable resources are the only way of continuing our way of life into the future.
By the way ALH,
yes the Earth was here before, and at least this point we don't have the capability to change that. But the Earth is indifferent to life. We're just hitching a ride on this pale blue dot of ours.
So while the Earth will move on for now, life has no such guarantee. And, of course, without some sort of intervention, eventually even the Earth will some day be blown up by passing meteors or swallowed up by a dying sun or some other cosmic event.
Destruction, it appears, is at least as natural as creation. For me, however, it's preservation that's the sole providence of humans.
It's typical for most humans to just casually wash our hands clean from any mess we made, simply cause it's too much hassle to fix. But at the back of my head, I know that even our homes become less inhabitable and prone to health risks if we just allow smoke and garbage to accumulate.
How skeptic can we be about global warming only masks the underlying fact that we are polluting the world we live in. Screw the Kyoto protocol as much as you want. But for crying out loud, we live in the same rock and breathe the same friggin' air.
This stunt they did is like pulling a Terrence & Philip by announcing their intentions to fart on our cumulative heads! haha..
But seriously speaking. I believe the main purpose of the Kyoto Protocol was to apply enough pressure to force countries to implement newer and greener tech to solve the 'crisis'. But instead, most of the derp lazy politicians of each country opted to weasel their way out of this bind through carbon trading. (I blame various oil/coal/etc Corporate influences on Politicians and viral counterpropaganda that led to this development)
Nevertheless, Governments should still give incentives to private companies to keep developing green tech as well as allocate enough budget for state sponsored R&D. Canada can still do those things even after opting out of the Kyoto Protocol, so there's not much reason to trump this for the global warming skeptics.
It basically just means that carbon trading is a bunch of BS.
#1 polluter or not it is a big bite out of improving the world wide problem. As for the US... We in the US have got to pressure our elected officials to take more action. We're in the pot and that water is boiling...