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Global Warming/Climate Change Super Thread

COBRA-6

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UberCree,

Just because I'm skeptical of global warming, doesn't mean I'm anti-environment. What bothers me the most is the amount of time people spend obsessing over this and other over-hyped scares, based on limited data, which often turn out to be groundless (DDT, power lines causing cancer etc...). This takes attention and resources away from issues that are proven and we can do something about, i.e. heavy metal polution, smokestack sulphur emissions, etc...

 


 

squealiox

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a_majoor said:
It seems from the historical record that the American suggestion to open up a market for trading emission credits was opposed by the Europeans and the various NGOs, and finally adopted in a very watered down form. This has the effect of creating an "illiquid" market, which is shunned since potential participants cannot readily realize the value of their "credits". (As an aside, creating highly regulated markets or otherwise preventing the free flow of information, capital and participants always has a negative result. Deregulation of the California electrical market was marred by restrictions which effectively shut out new players from competeing, and Ontario's decision to keep Ontario Hydro's generating system as one huge entity and dictate the consumer price of electricity has had a similar effect here. California's rolling blackouts were no surprise to anyone who saw the regulatory structure, since the invisible hand of the market will always manifest itself. Ontario will be in for it soon.)

Most of this topic is moot anyway, the non signatories don't appear to be making any moves, the signatories (such as Canada) have done nothing to impliment the plan and the "exempt" nations will fight tooth and nail to remain exempt.

Since many people believe the case is "proven", I would suggest you peruse the following:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Global_warming_controversy

This is an interesting introduction, and you will be surprised to see (but should not be) there are climatologists who are not with the "consensus" crowd.

yes, i do recall that many activist and ngo types were against using a market mechanism, for the usual ideological reasons. but nevertheless, kyoto is the only market solution out there -- that's why the US originally went along with it in the first place. washington's latest idea of "encouraging" energy efficiency is certainly not one.
as for the emissions trading, it was already under way the last time i posted on this subject a year ago.

and yes, there are contrarian climatologists, as with any discipline, but they are definitely in the minority.
 

UberCree

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Mike_R23A said:
UberCree,

Just because I'm skeptical of global warming, doesn't mean I'm anti-environment. What bothers me the most is the amount of time people spend obsessing over this and other over-hyped scares, based on limited data, which often turn out to be groundless (DDT, power lines causing cancer etc...). This takes attention and resources away from issues that are proven and we can do something about, i.e. heavy metal polution, smokestack sulphur emissions, etc...

I do agree that crying wolf obsessively creates a desensitization effect on the general population, myself included.  David Suzuki has done this to some extent.  However it does not stop the fact that there is still a wolf.  Even those that argue against global warming, would support increased regulation and government control over global pollution.  Most would also argue that we need to be realistic in our goals and not utopic.  Clean water is the most pressing international environmental issue.  What irks me however... well maybe not irks but dissapoints me... is when people think our actions are 'moot' (I suppose if they are then why bother opposing environmentalists).  To be so caught up in 'the bottom dollar' and so separate from the realities of nature is what is shocking to me. 

Corporations, like other citizens (as they are legally individuals correct?) need to be regulated.  The rights of the collective (be it in Canada, world wide, or in the future) need to be weighed against the rights of individual corporations to make their money.  If we let them determine what rules they have to play by then I do not think anyone would disagree that they will place their rights over the collective's rights.  In my part of the land, we have 2 of Canada's top three polluters.  INCO and Hudson Bay Mining and Smelting.  If one could see first hand the effects this has on the land and its many inhabitants perhaps they would not be so quick to support every meagre lame attempt at rationalizing pollution that these companies use to avoid cleaning up their act.  The locals that work there buy the arguements hook line and sinker without so much as being even remotely critical and while 'air quality advisories' sound on the airways daily.  "What we say and do is moot", they say, between coughs and wheezes, while on the radio it warns to stay indoors. 

I for one do not want my children and their children to inherate a world that is F'd up because of my lack of moral integrity or because I shrugged off the realities unfolding in front of my eyes.  Like the people that do not respond when they hear calls for help, because 'someone else will help' every one of us is guilty of contributing to pollution today... myself included. 

So as much as I probably do not make much sense, except in my own little world and in my own little mind, I call BULLSH*T when I hear corporations and their supporters spout their verbal pollution rationalizing their deeds that we all know are wrong.





 

a_majoor

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The issue here is individual rights. People and corporations (who are treated as individuals for legal convenience) work best when they can set their own goal and work to achieve them. Even the extreme large "L" Libertarian position is that your freedom to swing your fist ends at my nose, so there is nothing intrinsically wrong with turning people loose.

The "rights of the Collective" on the other hand are a complete fiction, since the "collective" can be defined in any arbitrary way, short of putting implants into people's heads and creating the "Borg". Even then, what criteria are being used to select you for membership into the Borg Collective?

UberCree, much of the problem you are describing up in Northern Ontario falls under "The Tragedy of the Commons". Since no one actually "owns" the land and environment (it is classed as Crown Land), the local mills and smelters feel free to do what they want. After all, they "own" it too. Property owners could (and should, but that is a different issue) take action against people and institutions who violate their property rights. Canada is a difficult place to put this into action, since much of the land is Crown land, property rights are not binding in law (they are not mentioned in the Canadian Constitution, for example) and Canadians tend to be passive and accept all kinds of outrages without action or complaint (see Adscam).

I am with you, (although you probably don't see it this way), after all, being a Combat Arms soldier for much of my career has put me in pretty intimate contact with the environment. The difference is that I also look through the lenses of History and Economics, so I understand there are large cycles which are beyond current understanding and control, as well as there are efficient means of providing incentives to encourage of discourage action. If we want to see real action against automotive pollution, for example, we can either put a large and expensive regulatory regime in place, which adds a lot to the price of a car and is constantly being subverted by auto makers or political pressure groups who fell they can gain/loose based on the zero sum regulatory game; or we can let the price of fuel rise to reflect true costs (removing lots of subsidies all through the production and transportation chain, for example) and see how quickly people change their habits and purchasing decisions.

As for Kyoto, analysis of the "plan" suggests we will end up spending billions or trillions of dollars, watch our standard of living plunge, and in the end see a temperature moderation of something on the order of .250C. Subjecting the people of the world to such a drastic dislocation for such little result seems pretty immoral to me.
 

a_majoor

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UberCree said:
So you are going to vote Green then? ;D

Commander's intent: we are seekig the same end state, I have just selected a different means of approaching it!
 

a_majoor

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Putting it all into perspective:

Mark Steyn: Climate change myth

11jan06

MICHAEL Crichton's environmental novel State Of Fear has many enjoyable moments, not least the deliciously apt fate he devises for a Martin Sheenesque Hollywood eco-poseur. But, along the way, his protagonist makes a quietly sensible point: that activist lobby groups ought to close down the office after 10 years. By that stage, regardless of the impact they've had on whatever cause they're hot for, they're chiefly invested in perpetuating their own indispensability.

That's what happened to the environmental movement. Denouncing this week's meeting of the Asia-Pacific Partnership, starting today in Sydney, the eco-tists sound more than a little squaresville: fossils running out of fuel. "Clearly, the short-term profits of the fossil fuel companies count for more in Canberra than the long-term health and welfare of ordinary Australians," says Clive Hamilton of the Australia Institute, disregarding the fact that the "long-term health and welfare" that ordinary Australians enjoy is not unconnected to fossil fuels.

"Relying solely on technology to deal with greenhouse emissions is like trying to empty a puddle while the tap is still running: you simply cannot do it," says Labor's environment spokesman Anthony Albanese. So Labor's policy is to turn off the tap?

Even if it wasn't driving the global environmental "consensus" bananas, the Asia-Pacific Partnership would still be worth doing. In environmental politics, the short-term interests of the eco-establishment count for more than the long-term health and welfare of ordinary Australians, or New Zealanders, or indeed Indians and Nigerians. They count for more than the long-term reputation of scientific institutions.

Hence, the famous "hockey stick" graph purporting to show climate over the past 1000 years, as a continuous, flat, millennium-long bungalow with a skyscraper tacked on for the 20th century. This graph was almost laughably fraudulent, not least because it used a formula that would generate a hockey stick shape no matter what data you input, even completely random, trendless, arbitrary computer-generated data. Yet such is the power of the eco-lobby that this fraud became the centrepiece of UN reports on global warming. If it's happening, why is it necessary to lie about it?

Well, the problem for the Kyoto cultists is that the end of the world's nighness is never quite as nigh as you'd like. Thirty years ago, Lowell Ponte had a huge bestseller called The Cooling: Has the new ice age already begun? Can we survive?

Answer: No, it hasn't. Yes, we can. So, when the new ice age predicted in the '70s failed to emerge, the eco-crowd moved on in the '80s to global warming, and then more recently to claiming as evidence of global warming every conceivable meteorological phenomenon: lack of global warmth is evidence of global warming; frost, ice, snow, glaciers, they're all signs of global warming, too. If you live in England, where it's 12C and partly cloudy all summer and 11.5C and overcast all winter, that dramatic climate change is also evidence of global warming.

That's the new buzz phrase these days: climate change. We've got to stop it, or change it back before it destroys the planet. And, if it doesn't destroy the planet, circa 2011 the Kyotocrats will be citing lack of climate change as evidence of climate change. They are, literally, a church, and under the Holy Book of Kyoto their bishops demand that the great industrial nations of the world tithe their incomes to them. So they're never going to take Crichton's advice.

That being so, the next best thing is the Asia-Pacific Partnership, or the "coalition of the emitting": Australia, the US, India, China, Japan, and South Korea. These nations are responsible for about half of greenhouse gas emissions and, by 2050, will account for roughly 75 per cent of global gross domestic product. In other words, these are the players that matter. And, unlike the Kyotophiles, their strategy isn't a form of cultural self-flagellation. America and Australia will be making Western technology available to developing nations to accelerate their development, so they don't have to spend a century and a half with belching smokestacks glowering over grimy cities the way the first industrialised nations did.

My only problem with this is that, in a government notable for its blunt, healthy disdain for the transnational pieties, Australia's Environment Minister seems to have been spending way too much time snorting the ol' CO2 at the eco-lobby parties. As Matt Price reported in these pages last year:

"Emerging from a bushwalk through the Tarkine forest in northwest Tasmania, Environment Minister Ian Campbell told The Australian that argument about the causes and impact of global warming had effectively ended: 'I think the Australian Government owes it to the public to tell it like it is."'

Oh, dear. By "telling it like it is", he means telling it like we've been told for the past 30 years: "Australia and other industrialised nations need to take urgent action to avert environmental disaster."

Really? You know, I don't like to complain but maybe that Tarkine forest is part of the problem. Here's a headline from the National Post of Canada last Friday: "Forests may contribute to global warming: study." This was at Stanford University. They developed a model that covered most of the Northern Hemisphere in forest and found that global temperature increased three degrees, which is several times more than the alleged CO2 emissions. Heat-wise, a forest is like a woman in a black burka in the middle of the Iraqi desert. In my state of New Hampshire, we've got far more forest than we did a century or two ago. Could reforestation be causing more global warming than my 700m-per-litre Chevrolet Resource-Depleter? Clearly I need several million dollars to investigate further.

I said above that any day the Kyotophiles will be citing lack of climate change as evidence of climate change. But, in essence, that's what they've been doing for years. For example, just before Christmas, Rutgers University put out a press release headed "Global Warming Doubles Rate of Ocean Rise".

Whoa, sell that beachfront property now! If things keep up like this, Sydney's excitable "youths" will be having to rampage in diving suits. But hang on, what exactly do they mean by the "rate" "doubling"? Kenneth Miller claims to have proved that from 5000 years ago to about 200 years ago the global ocean rise was about 1mm a year.

But since 1850 it's been rising at 2mm a year. In other words, it doubled sometime in the early 19th century and has stayed the same ever since, apparently impervious to the industrialisation of Europe, China, India and much of the rest of Asia, as well as to the invention of the automobile, the aerosol deodorant and the private jet Barbra Streisand used when she flew in to Washington to discuss global warming with president Clinton.
Yet nobody thought to headline the story "Rate of ocean rise unchanged for over a century and a half".

If the present rate continues, the Maldives will be under water by 2500. Of course, by then, if the present rate of demographic decline continues, most of Russia and Europe will be empty, and we could resettle the 350,000 residents of the Maldives on the Riviera.

Or we could cripple the global economy now.

One day, the world will marvel at the environmental hysteria of our time, and the deeply damaging corruption of science in the cause of an alarmist cult. The best thing this week's conference could do is inculcate a certain modesty, not least in Senator Ian Campbell, about an issue that is almost entirely speculative. We don't know how or why climate changes. We do know it's changed dramatically throughout the planet's history, including the so-called "little Ice Age" beginning in 600, when I was still driving a Ford Oxcart, and that, by comparison, the industrial age has been a time of relative climate stability. But, of course, as with that "hockey stick", it depends how you draw the graph.

Question: Why do most global warming advocates begin their scare statistics with "since 1970"?

As in, "since 1970" there's been global surface warming of half a degree or so.

Because from 1940 to 1970, temperatures fell.


Now why would that be?

Who knows? Maybe it was Hitler. Maybe world wars are good for the planet.

Or maybe we should all take a deep breath of CO2 and calm down.

Mark Steyn, a columnist with the Telegraph Group, is a regular contributor to The Australian's opinion page.
 

a_majoor

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Well, who would have thought......

http://upi.com/NewsTrack/view.php?StoryID=20060207-041447-2345r

NewsTrack
Scientist predicts 'mini Ice Age'
ST. PETERSBURG, Russia, Feb. 7 (UPI) -- A Russian astronomer has predicted that Earth will experience a "mini Ice Age" in the middle of this century, caused by low solar activity.

Khabibullo Abdusamatov of the Pulkovo Astronomic Observatory in St. Petersburg said Monday that temperatures will begin falling six or seven years from now, when global warming caused by increased solar activity in the 20th century reaches its peak, RIA Novosti reported.

The coldest period will occur 15 to 20 years after a major solar output decline between 2035 and 2045, Abdusamatov said.

Dramatic changes in the earth's surface temperatures are an ordinary phenomenon, not an anomaly, he said, and result from variations in the sun's energy output and ultraviolet radiation.

The Northern Hemisphere's most recent cool-down period occurred between 1645 and 1705. The resulting period, known as the Little Ice Age, left canals in the Netherlands frozen solid and forced people in Greenland to abandon their houses to glaciers, the scientist said.

 

GO!!!

Fallen Comrade
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Hello all,

It is assignment time again, and I am looking for a bit of peer review on this paper. This is unfinished, (running out of time) and the citations are in "austere" form, I am looking for a critique of the conclusions stated, and of the writing.

Canada and the Kyoto Protocol; A Dangerous Combination of Good Intentions and Opportunism

The Kyoto Protocol to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change is, at heart, a fine document, conceived by individuals with only the best of intentions for the future of our world, and the condition of the natural environment, worldwide. There was no malice when it was written, only an idealistic slant that was either unaware of, or perhaps believing that environmental concerns transcended the historical and economic conditions that would come into play when the time to sign it came. These conditions are precisely why the Kyoto Protocol is a terrible idea for Canada and Canadians.

The Kyoto Protocol is an addition to the existing United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). The basis for it lies in the concept of a certain level of pollution of the atmosphere by eight gasses considered by the UN to be the major contributors to the global “greenhouse effect”, which is human activity creating a rise in the earth’s overall temperatures by releasing gasses into the atmosphere that break down the ozone layer (a naturally formed layer of gas that blocks harmful UV rays from the sun) and holds more of the sun’s radiated heat on earth, as opposed to allowing it to dissipate into space, as was previously the case. The protocol aims to achieve this by placing restrictions on countries that have large amounts of heavy industry, which emits large amounts of these gasses, and instituting a system of international “emissions credits” the possession of which allows the holder to pollute to a set limit, at which point he must buy more. In the interests of the global economy, the writers of the protocol proposed that the emissions levels be set for the declared level of emission of 1990, as a benchmark, with the eventual goal being for all countries to lower national emissions of the eight gasses to 5.2% below 1990 levels. Nations that are above this level would have to purchase emissions credits on the global market, in order to stay below their set limit. The Kyoto Protocol sets no limits on the emission of greenhouse gasses by undeveloped signatory nations, and there are no reliable methods of ascertaining the levels at which many nations emit these gasses now, or at any point in the past. The “exempt” signatory nations of the Protocol have no timeline to become adherents to it, and the Protocol specifies only that the levels at which undeveloped countries will be permitted to emit will be ascertained “in the future”. The protocol also leaves some participant nations with the option to increase their emissions, due to economic and political factors that will be covered later. The Protocol came into effect on the 15th of February, 2005, after it had been ratified by 55 “Annex 1” nations, whose emissions totaled 55% or more of the world emissions. Developing nations were not counted as members of the annex 1 group. In short, the Kyoto Protocol is an extremely complicated document that does not apply to any two signatories equally.

Kyoto and the Environment

The effects of Kyoto on the environment are also difficult to ascertain, and given the present wording of the document, possibly very small. At the present time, the five largest national emitters of Kyoto protocol gasses are the United States, China, Russia, Japan and India.  Interestingly, only the US and Japan would be expected to curtail their industrial activity or purchase emissions credits from the developing world, while China and India, with their rapidly expanding economies and surging use of fossil fuels would be permitted to pollute with impunity, and simultaneously enjoy exempt status from the protocol, as well as large amounts of foreign exchange from the industrialized signatory nations. Russia would also benefit from the Protocol, given that after the fall of the Soviet Union in 1990-91, industrial production fell sharply, and emissions with it. This has placed the Russians in the enviable position of having enormous emissions in 1990, the benchmark for the Protocol, that fell off immediately afterwards, and are currently approximately 35% below the level set by the Protocol. This means that Russia would profit handsomely from the implementation of the Protocol, being Russia is a net energy exporter, and could now profit from both the sale of energy, and of the use of energy as well! The effect on the environment that a reduction or stabilization of emissions in the industrialized world would almost certainly be dwarfed by the massive increases that will occur in the developing world, given that they are not subject to the reduction standards, would be profiting from the sale of emissions credits, and would also benefit from an additional competitive edge, given that industry in industrialized nations would still have to be profitable, even with the added burden of supporting their unrestrained competition. This would have the additional effect of creating even more industrialization in the undeveloped nations and increasing their levels of emissions even further! The environmental effects of the Kyoto Protocol in the present form are likely to be small initially, and even worse over the long term, as the emitters of greenhouse gasses fight to keep their “exempt” status as they industrialize further.

Canada should wholeheartedly reject the Kyoto Protocol, and publicly state the reasons why. These reasons encompass the full spectrum of national interests, from the effects on the Canadian and international environments, to the effects of an enforced Kyoto Protocol on the Canadian economy, the implications for national unity and domestic politics and the loss of Canadian independence and sovereignty in the economic and strategic spheres.

A Roaring Economy Reduced to a Whimper

Canada as a nation has a widely diversified economy, but is still one that places an emphasis on natural resources and the export of them, primarily to the United States. This has created an extremely wealthy, skilled and educated Canadian population, and one that enjoys one of the highest standards of living on the planet. This natural resource based export economy has an environmental price though, and combined with the high living standards, this has become quite high, with Canadians driving larger and more vehicles, residing in larger homes, and consuming more goods, which require transport, sale and climate controlled space. As a result, Canadians are among the worst per capita polluters in the world,  and the goods that provide the source of Canadian wealth, hydrocarbons especially, contribute to this even further, both in the production of them, and the subsidies which encourage even greater use in certain Canadian provinces, as a matter of public policy. The rising price of all hydrocarbons, in addition to the rise in the price of many natural resources, from iron to diamonds has created an even more successful economy in Canada, but one that requires extensive use of petroleum to maintain it. For example; the Canadian mining sector has made great advances in recent years, but the entire mining industry relies on the use of diesel engines to operate, and thus the use of diesel fuel. The Canadian economy relies on polluting the air with impunity, and must be allowed to continue to do so to.
The implementation of the Kyoto Protocol would remove the profitability of nearly every Canadian industry, and effect savage cuts to the standard of living in Canada – for all citizens. If Canada was to be required to reduce emissions to 1990 levels, and this was to be enforced, the industrial emissions alone would have to drop by 24%.  Given that this 24% increase in emissions has effected a 43% increase in Gross Domestic Product, (as of 2003)  the question must be asked, if Canada’s rise in GDP and prosperity is directly tied to the emissions of Kyoto Protocol gasses, why on earth would any politician supposedly acting in the national interest attempt to implement it?

The effects of implementing Kyoto on the Canadian public would be severe as well. If every Canadian were to be assigned a “carbon credit” and forced to purchase more, they would quickly command a premium, and enforcement would be nearly impossible. A more likely scenario is that an added tax would be applied to all forms of energy, as a method of discouraging use and raising capital to pay for the right to emit. This money would then be sent to the national governments of undeveloped countries. In essence, this would be a global tax on Canadian citizens, with all of the proceeds leaving the country. Simultaneously, the cost of producing every good in Canada would rise substantially, as producers attempted to remain profitable in the face of enormous increases in their costs of production. Canadian citizens would watch their costs of living skyrocket, with no end in sight, as energy resources are getting scarcer, and demand for many types is only rising, and will continue to do so, especially given the surge in wealth and industrial activity that would occur in the developing world. The damage to the resource based Canadian economy would be catastrophic. Hundreds of thousands of Canadians would be put out of work as their places of employment were bankrupted by a combination of crushing Kyoto taxes, energy costs and competition from an unrestrained developing world. One study places the cost of Kyoto at a conservative $2700 per household, per year, based on information available in 2002.  This information is telling, but the costs of many items have risen significantly since 2002 (oil, for example, was worth approximately $25/US a barrel in 2002, it is now worth approximately $60! ) and given that there are approximately 14 million households in Canada, this cost (in 2002) dollars amounts to a total drain gargantuan proportions, especially considering that there is no perceivable benefit! All of this money would be spent in other countries! In short, the Canadian public would be expected to suffer enormous increases in the cost of nearly every good and service, increased taxation, and job losses, to cut emissions by an amount that Kyoto exempt nations like Mexico, India and China could wipe out in a fiscal quarter of solid economic growth.

Paying Others to Pollute Here

Implementation of the Kyoto Protocol would, in essence, mean that Canada would be participating in a massive wealth re-distribution scheme, in which Canada would be the number one spender, and in which other participants would be spending far less, if anything at all! The “benchmark” for Kyoto emissions was set at 1990. This was a standard of great advantage to both the Europeans and Russians, but punitive to Canada. In 1990, the former Soviet states were in a state of vicious industrial decline due to the collapse of the command economies of the former Soviet Union, as such, their emissions were startlingly low. East and West Germany had also recently reunited, and the horribly inefficient Eastern industrial base had largely become quiet, along with the collapse of the East German coal industry, and the factories which it supplied, which had fallen victim to the ruthlessly efficient west in the new, free market economy. In Britain, the Iron Lady, Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher had worked and succeeded to break the powerful coal mining unions in her country, and as a result, inefficient and polluting mines were shut down, simultaneously inspiring industry to switch to cleaner alternatives and raising the price of that commodity for foreign trade. As a result of these timely reformations, European (both eastern and western) and Russian emissions were at a low ebb, and falling immediately after the benchmark was decided upon in 1990, due to new nations calculating new amounts, and reformations which were healthy and ultimately necessary taking place. Canada is in the opposite situation. Canadian emissions were low in 1990, and have been on a steady rise ever since, especially with the signing of the North American Free Trade agreement in 1994, and the rising costs of oil, of which Canada is a net exporter. The benchmark of 1990 highly advantageous to most signatories of the Kyoto protocol. With 1990 as the benchmark, all of the annex 1 signatory nations have significant emissions “room” in which to expand their emissions, with the exception of Canada and Japan. The Japanese only signed the Protocol after it was ascertained that there would be no enforcement mechanism put in place, because they have no intention of enforcing it themselves, realizing the terrible economic costs it would have! Canada has the most ambitious of the Kyoto targets, and the most to lose by fulfilling their “obligation”. Nations like Russia and the Ukraine are likely to become net emissions credits exporters, so for them, the Kyoto Protocol was a great idea; they only had to sign, continue planned economic recovery, and sell a good (emissions credits) with no cost to themselves, but which would provide a large source of foreign exchange – in short, the ideal commodity for export! Canada is the only nation to sign and ratify the Kyoto Protocol who will actually have to pay the significant costs associated with it. Canadians will be paying Russians and Ukrainians to pollute Canada under Kyoto.

Kyoto Across Canada – Well, Most Of It

One of the first moves the Liberal government made in 2003, when the plans for how the Kyoto Protocol could be met were being drawn up, was to exempt the southern Ontario automotive manufacturers from any emissions cuts or regulations under the agreement.  This vital bastion of liberal electoral support is to be shielded from Kyoto cuts while the natural resource producing (but right leaning and conservative voting) west will bear the full brunt of this agreement. This means that Canadians will bear the full costs of Kyoto, but their place of residence will play a major part in just how much they pay, or whether they will have a job at all in the first place! While the issue of western alienation has always been a problem in Canada, this single action, even more than Pierre Trudeau’s wealth redistribution plan, the NEP (National Energy Plan), demonstrated to residents of western Canada that they were destined to forever be the “drawers of water and hewers of wood” for eastern Canada unless a sympathetic government could be voted in. The exemption of Liberal friendly ridings from Kyoto was perhaps the most telling action that proved that Canada has no plans to distribute the pain of Kyoto evenly, preferring to concentrate the negative effects in areas that are not traditional supporters of the Liberal party.

Comments please!!

 
C

couchcommander

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Oh dear, I've managed to avoid politically charged topics for a while here.... ah screw it, here it goes

GO!!! said:
I Given that this 24% increase in emissions has effected a 43% increase in Gross Domestic Product, (as of 2003)  the question must be asked, if Canada’s rise in GDP and prosperity is directly tied to the emissions of Kyoto Protocol gasses, why on earth would any politician supposedly acting in the national interest attempt to implement it?

Can you prove causation between these two figures?

Hundreds of thousands of Canadians would be put out of work as their places of employment were bankrupted by a combination of crushing Kyoto taxes, energy costs and competition from an unrestrained developing world. 

(....the following is not really constructive advice for developing your paper, but some things I hope you take into consideration...)

That would require us accepting your predictions of it being horribly expensive. Two confounding things here, to me at least. Firstly, the cost of reducing it... I am more on the side that it won't be that bad, especially when I see figures that point out that five coal fired power generating stations in Ontario are responsible for 5% percent of our TOTAL :eek: emissions in an entire year (2002 stats, read Environment Canada's "Canada's Greenhouse Gas Inventory, 1990-2002", Annex 10, and compare it to the emissions of the five coal fired plants operated by Ontario Power Generation, this is freely availible, but you can get it from CleanAir). And there are more, especially here in Alberta!

These together, total, generate about seven and a half gigawatts of electricity. The cost of replacing these stations with relatively clean nuclear energy would have run us, very roughly 15 billion dollars (10 CANDU 6 reactors - 5 times the Quishan cost... we'd have to tac on some inflation of course), assuming we used older technology, and not the newer, advanced, 1000 or 1500 megawatt designs that reduce cost per kilowatt. If we spread this out over the construction period, it equals about 2, maybe 3 (if we want to add 50% to the cost for inflation or whatever), oh hell lets just make it 4 ... for the middleman, and the fact we will have to hire Canadians that aren't paid 5 cents an hours... billion dollars a year (approx. 7 years construction time). Regardless, put this in perspective of our trillion dollar a year economy... and it's pennies.

Now, the second big objection is this entire "cost" thing.

The solution I just put forth for reducing our total emissions in a year by 5% would have required a capital expendure, yes, but this is also on Canadian reactors, which are going to be built(mostly) by Canadians (even if they don't come from AECL), with the profits from their eventual generation (assuming we don't let them get bought up by, oh, the British or something) going towards Canadian shareholders... my point is that there really isn't a "cost" per se. Like any "cost" in our economy, it will just end up paying for someone elses supper.

I mean, using the same logic as these people who are predicting the death of the Canadian economy due to the "cost" of kyoto, you could say that the "cost" of running our national economy is many hundreds of billions of dollars a year (building new buildings, paying workers, paying for resources, etc. etc. etc.)! Certainly a horrific number... but we all know that's not how the economy really works.

Given this I am more inclined to believe the reports that say going after Kyoto will in fact result in a net benefit  :eek: to our national economy, both in terms of cash floating around, and the residual benefits that come from investing in high tech development (...avoiding competing with developing countries 5 cent an hour labour, for one). But that's just me I suppose.

especially considering that there is no perceivable benefit!

Not having it snow in August (screws up crops because they get cold), or +15 in December (screws up crops because the soil won't be moist from snow) is nice for me.
 

Brad Sallows

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I agree there aren't "hundreds of thousands" jobs at stake, but "my point is that there really isn't a "cost" per se" isn't true.  This isn't an unused pile of cash in someone's mattress you are writing about.  What you propose means a diversion of funding from something else, which means something else must be foregone.

>with the profits from their eventual generation

How profitable has Ontario Hydro been these recent years?

>Given this I am more inclined to believe the reports that say going after Kyoto will in fact result in a net benefit

We'll get the benefits eventually anyways without interfering directly in the market in pursuit of a goal which doesn't have any easily demonstrable purpose.
 
C

couchcommander

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Brad Sallows said:
I agree there aren't "hundreds of thousands" jobs at stake, but "my point is that there really isn't a "cost" per se" isn't true.  This isn't an unused pile of cash in someone's mattress you are writing about.  What you propose means a diversion of funding from something else, which means something else must be foregone.
Fair enough. My point was that it's not like we are just taking the money and giving it to "someone" never to be seen again, akin to the traditional connotation of the term "cost".

You are right it would require diverting funding from some other project, but another way to look at is these coal fired plants all date from the late sixties early seventies, and are in need of replacement anywho. We would just be doing it in a timely manner. As well, they contribute a very very large proportion of the air pollution in Ontario (I don't have the exact number in front of me, i can get it if you want), which has been estimated (very late nineties I think) to cost Ontario 10 billion dollars a year...

How profitable has Ontario Hydro been these recent years?
There are plenty of profitable nuclear operations worldwide. Just because we were too dumb to do it correctly doesn't mean it's not possible.

We'll get the benefits eventually anyways without interfering directly in the market in pursuit of a goal which doesn't have any easily demonstrable purpose.

Ah it's doing our bit. On the grand scheme of things, we only produce 2 percent of the worlds emissions... but that shouldn't stop us from pulling our own weight (and hopefully more). Taking responsibility for our actions is a principle, in my opinion, that defines this country (or at least it should). "Because everyone else is doing it" isn't an excuse to me.

*edit* Oh, to the essay as well GO!!!!... I'm not too certain that a major focus of Kyoto is ozone depletion. It was my understanding that this was the primary focus of the montreal protocols (??) back in the eighties when they banned CFC's.. I think the big concern is just the entire greenhouse effect. I could be wrong on this though, I'd just advise checking it.
 

a_majoor

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Couple of points:

1. The assumption that global climate change is a result of human activity is built into the Kyoto accords, but is not proven one way or the other. Indeed, historical evidence shows large climactic swings occured when humans had very little control over the environment. Vikings colonized Greenland and lived as "croft" farmers in the Dark ages, something which is impossible today since Greenland is colder than it was then. During the "Little Ice Age", the Thames river was frozen hard enough to hold fairs on, and many battles in the American Revolutionary War were decided by the ability to cross frozen rivers with the logistics and artillery train, so it was far colder than it was today. To suggest Kyoto was driven by scientific concerns is a bit difficult to believe given the widely available evidence in the historical record.

2. The motivation to "deindustrealize" the United States seems implicit in the way the accord is structured (i.e. India and China are exempt, Russia gains net wealth transfers). A more thourough discussion on costs, including sources would strengthen that part of your argument. I believe when the accord was signed by Canada, there were predicitons that up to 500,000 jobs would be affected, which should be findable.
 
C

couchcommander

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a_majoor said:
1. The assumption that global climate change is a result of human activity is built into the Kyoto accords, but is not proven one way or the other. Indeed, historical evidence shows large climactic swings occured when humans had very little control over the environment. Vikings colonized Greenland and lived as "croft" farmers in the Dark ages, something which is impossible today since Greenland is colder than it was then. During the "Little Ice Age", the Thames river was frozen hard enough to hold fairs on, and many battles in the American Revolutionary War were decided by the ability to cross frozen rivers with the logistics and artillery train, so it was far colder than it was today. To suggest Kyoto was driven by scientific concerns is a bit difficult to believe given the widely available evidence in the historical record.

No, it's not proven (nothing ever really is), but it is accepted by the vast majority of the scientific community. Indeed, there was drastic climatic shifts in past, but the last 150 year trend has been rather unique. It is particularily pronounced. Yes, the sun, our orbit, dust, etc. etc. all play a role, but not to the extent required. And yes, some places get colder, others warmer. In fact during the last 150 years, the earth has gone through warming and cooling cycles every decade or so. However the net effect on the whole globe, over the long term, is what matters, and this net effect, which just so happens to coincide with humans starting to release unheard of amounts of CO2, is drastic. This graphic http://www.ghgonline.org/images/ipcc1aandb.gif illustrates it well. THe first one just shows the warming and cooling trends, compared to the 1961-1990 average, but the second, b) is the really interesting one. This graphic is from the  Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (and yes, I know the Fraser Institute and a couple of climatologists from the U of T object to the report... to name a few, but they are a deviation from the norm).
 

c_canuk

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No, it's not proven (nothing ever really is), but it is accepted by the vast majority of the scientific community

in the 70s it was accepted by the vast majority of the scientific community that we are heading into the next ice age... a lot of the so called scientific community that is studying "Global warming" is a very small fraction of the scientific community and if you look at the data its a pretty slim argument that man is causing it by releasing green house gasses when active volcanoes spew forth more in a year than man has since the industrial revolution. the increase in CO2 is in the parts per million, and CO2 is a very small fraction of our atmoshere, which was not the case millions of years ago when it was a major componet.

A good book to read which really made things clear to me, though it is fiction, it's backed up on solid sources(ie The whole of Antarctica has been melting for 3000 years, but only recently has this stopped and only parts of it continue to melt while the rest of it continues to thicken), is State of Fear by Michael Crighton. I believe that humans can have an effect on our local environments, but to think that we cause every change in the environment is ignorant at best. Nature is one continuous changing journey which we've only been a part of for a very short time, and has endured through catastrophes worse than we've ever seen in our blink of an existence within it.

The reason I'm very skeptical about our role in "Global Warming" is that the same crowd that protests soldiers and thinks that the mission in Afghanistan is a wasted effort overlap quite a bit with those carrying the "Global Warming" flag. I hear a lot of "everyone agrees" and "The scientific community accepts that" but I don't hear sources, I do however find a lot of sources saying nothing of the sort.

Some people say contradictory sources are funded by Energy Corps and are therefore biased, but don't see a problem with these same people chairing and largely funding the Environmental research groups that are trying to find alternate sources of renewable energy.

 

squealiox

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c_canuk said:
in the 70s it was accepted by the vast majority of the scientific community that we are heading into the next ice age

not in any peer-reviewed scientific journals, it wasn't.

if you look at the data its a pretty slim argument that man is causing it by releasing green house gasses when active volcanoes spew forth more in a year than man has since the industrial revolution

the USGS says humans produce 22 billion tons of co2 a year, volcanoes only 230 million, at most.
volcanoes also produce particles that should have a cooling effect.
http://volcanoes.usgs.gov/Hazards/What/VolGas/volgas.html


The reason I'm very skeptical about our role in "Global Warming" is that the same crowd that protests soldiers and thinks that the mission in Afghanistan is a wasted effort overlap quite a bit with those carrying the "Global Warming" flag. I hear a lot of "everyone agrees" and "The scientific community accepts that" but I don't hear sources, I do however find a lot of sources saying nothing of the sort.

no consensus? this is a partial list of major institutions that find in favour of the manmade global warming theory (while the naysayers come overwhelmingly from the arts and humanities):

NASA's Goddard Institute of Space Studies (GISS)
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)
National Academy of Sciences (NAS)
State of the Canadian Cryosphere (SOCC)
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
Royal Society of the United Kingdom (RS)
American Geophysical Union (AGU)
National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR)
American Meteorological Society (AMS)
Canadian Meteorological and Oceanographic Society (CMOS)

google them if you don't believe me. i'm not sure what their take on our afghan mission is, though. (does the fact that i support it 100% have any bearing on anything i have just said?)

 

squealiox

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GO, i didn't mean to derail this thread about your essay, so ...
you might want to clarify just how the emissions trading scheme is intended to work, and focus on why you think it won't work. as a derivatives market (something i take a semi-professional interest in), the carbon markets are pretty straightforward. you can even look up the latest prices if you have access to a bloomberg terminal. (i believe the function is <NGY><Go>)

the most obvious potential flaw with the kyoto trading mechanism, i think, is in the enforcement . in fact, you could probably even make the argument that the prices and the volatility of these emissions credit markets should reflect the extent to which it is (a) a wealth-redistribution scheme (larger fluctation in prices) or (b) a perfectly efficient market (smaller fluctuations). no need for much financial theory, just a qualititve appraisal of how it compares with other derivatives markets, such as energy futures or options.

you can find more info on these markets at http://www.ieta.org/ieta/www/pages/index.php
 

GO!!!

Fallen Comrade
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Thank you all for your thoughtful insight, particularly Squeeliox and Brad for their suggestions on how it might be improved.

Work continues, I will post the rest tomorrow (14 March)

GO!!!
 

IamCanadian

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Also take into account the medical costs, air pollution costs Ontario alone over $1 billion a year in hospital visits, emergency room visits, medication, family physician visits and time off work usually for respiratory problems. Not to mention the estimated 1900 deaths per year in Ontario caused by air pollution, and the lower quality of life for people with chronic respiratory problems such as asthma.
http://www.oma.org/phealth/icap.htm
http://www.cleanair.web.net/whatsnew/response.html
 

GO!!!

Fallen Comrade
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Closer to the finished version.

CC,

I am aware of the Ontario power crisis, but the left seems to have convinced that province that all forms of power generation are bad. This has not quelled their desires for power though, and recent studies, as mentioned, have stated that support for nuclear power is "soft"

All,

There are numerous issues not explored in my paper, (carbon trading, for example) but I am already approximately 1/3 over the word limit, which is verboten in all but the most extraordinary cases, so I have to cut somewhere!

This is v2. There are some major changes to the beginning (Brad, thanks) so I posted the whole thing again, comments please!

Canada and the Kyoto Protocol; A Dangerous Combination of Good Intentions and Opportunism

The Kyoto Protocol to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change is, at heart, a two documents; one conceived by individuals with only the best of intentions for the future of our world, and the condition of the natural environment. The other, a declaration of economic warfare enticingly cloaked in environmentalism, but bearing only difficulty and even danger for those foolhardy enough to answer the siren call. There was malice when it was written, combined with an idealistic slant that was either unaware of, or perhaps believing that environmental concerns transcended the historical and economic conditions that would come into play when the time to sign it came. These conditions are precisely why the Kyoto Protocol is a terrible idea for Canada, Canadians, and the entire developed world.

The Kyoto Protocol is an addition to the existing United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). The basis for it lies in the concept of a certain level of pollution of the atmosphere by eight gases considered by the UN to be the major contributors to the global “greenhouse effect”, which is human activity creating a rise in the earth’s overall temperatures by releasing gases into the atmosphere hold more of the sun’s radiated heat on earth, as opposed to allowing it to dissipate into space, as was previously the case. It should be noted that this is only a theory as to the reasons behind climate change, and there is a large group of prominent dissenters who claim that human activity has little or no effect on climate change. The Protocol aims to achieve this reversal or stoppage of climate change by placing restrictions on countries that have large amounts of heavy industry, which emits large amounts of these gases, and instituting a system of international “emissions credits” the possession of which allows the holder to pollute to a set limit, at which point he must buy more. In the interests of the global economy, the writers of the Protocol proposed that the emissions levels be set for the declared level of emission of 1990, as a benchmark, with the eventual goal being for all countries to lower national emissions of the eight gases to 5.2% below 1990 levels. Nations that are above this level would have to purchase emissions credits on the global market, in order to stay below their set limit. The Kyoto Protocol sets no limits on the emission of greenhouse gases by undeveloped signatory nations, and there are no reliable methods of ascertaining the levels at which many nations emit these gases now, or at any point in the past. The “exempt” signatory nations of the Protocol have no timeline to become adherents to it, and the Protocol specifies only that the levels at which undeveloped countries will be permitted to emit will be ascertained “in the future”. The Protocol also leaves some participant nations with the option to increase their emissions, due to economic and political factors that will be covered later. The Protocol came into effect on the 15th of February, 2005, after it had been ratified by 55 “Annex 1” nations, whose emissions totaled 55% or more of the world emissions. Developing nations were not counted as members of the annex 1 group. In short, the Kyoto Protocol is an extremely complicated document that does not apply to any two signatories equally.

Kyoto and the Environment

The effects of Kyoto on the environment are also difficult to ascertain, and given the present wording of the document, possibly very small, especially given that Canada is responsible for approximately 2% of global Kyoto Protocol gas emissions  At the present time, the five largest national emitters of Kyoto Protocol gases are the United States, China, Russia, Japan and India.  Interestingly, only the US and Japan would be expected to curtail their industrial activity or purchase emissions credits from the developing world, while China and India, with their rapidly expanding economies and surging use of fossil fuels would be permitted to pollute with impunity, and simultaneously enjoy exempt status from the Protocol, as well as large amounts of foreign exchange from the industrialized signatory nations. Russia would also benefit from the Protocol, given that after the fall of the Soviet Union in 1990-91, industrial production fell sharply, and emissions with it. This has placed the Russians in the enviable position of having enormous emissions in 1990, the benchmark for the Protocol, that fell off immediately afterwards, and are currently approximately 35% below the level set by the Protocol. This means that Russia would profit handsomely from the implementation of the Protocol, being as Russia is a net energy exporter, and could now profit from both the sale of energy, and of the use of energy as well! The effect that a reduction or stabilization of emissions in the industrialized world would almost certainly be dwarfed by the massive increases that will occur in the developing world, given that they are not subject to the reduction standards, would be profiting from the sale of emissions credits, and would also benefit from an additional competitive edge, given that industry in industrialized nations would still have to be profitable, even with the added burden of supporting their unrestrained competition. This would have the additional effect of creating even more industrialization in the undeveloped nations and increasing their levels of emissions even further! The environmental effects of the Kyoto Protocol in the present form are likely to be small initially, and even worse over the long term, as the emitters of greenhouse gases fight to keep their “exempt” status as they industrialize further.

Canada should wholeheartedly reject the Kyoto Protocol, and publicly state the reasons why. These reasons encompass the full spectrum of national interests, from the effects on the Canadian and international environments, to the effects of an enforced Kyoto Protocol on the Canadian economy, the implications for national unity and domestic politics and the loss of Canadian independence and sovereignty in the economic and strategic spheres.

A Roaring Economy Reduced to a Whimper

Canada as a nation has a widely diversified economy, but is still one that places an emphasis on natural resources and the export of them, primarily to the United States. This has created an extremely wealthy, skilled and educated Canadian population, and one that enjoys one of the highest standards of living on the planet. This natural resource based export economy has an environmental price though, and combined with the high living standards, this has become quite high, with Canadians driving larger and more vehicles, residing in larger homes, and consuming more goods, which require transport, sale and climate controlled space. As a result, Canadians are among the worst per capita polluters in the world.  The goods that provide the source of Canadian wealth, hydrocarbons especially, contribute to this even further, both in the production of them, and the subsidies which encourage even greater use in certain Canadian provinces, as a matter of public policy. The rising price of all hydrocarbons, in addition to the rise in the price of many natural resources, from iron to diamonds has created an even more successful economy in Canada, but one that requires extensive use of petroleum to maintain it. For example; the Canadian mining sector has made great advances in recent years, but the entire mining industry relies on the use of diesel engines to operate, and thus the use of diesel fuel. The Canadian economy relies on polluting the air with impunity, and must be allowed to continue to do so to.

The implementation of the Kyoto Protocol would reduce the profitability of nearly every Canadian industry, and effect savage cuts to the standard of living in Canada – for all citizens. If Canada was to be required to reduce emissions to 1990 levels, and this was to be enforced, the industrial emissions alone would have to drop by 24%.  Given that this 24% increase in emissions has effected a 43% increase in Gross Domestic Product, (as of 2003)  the question must be asked, if Canada’s rise in GDP and prosperity is strongly related to increased emissions of Kyoto Protocol gases, why on earth would any politician supposedly acting in the national interest attempt to implement it?

The effects of implementing Kyoto on the Canadian public would be severe as well. If every Canadian were to be assigned a “carbon credit” and forced to purchase more, they would quickly command a premium, and enforcement would be nearly impossible. A more likely scenario is that an added tax would be applied to all forms of energy, as a method of discouraging use and raising capital to pay for the right to emit. This money would then be sent to the national governments of undeveloped countries. In essence, this would be a global tax on Canadian citizens, with all of the proceeds leaving the country. Simultaneously, the cost of producing every good in Canada would rise substantially, as producers attempted to remain profitable in the face of enormous increases in their costs of production. Canadian citizens would watch their costs of living skyrocket, with no end in sight, as energy resources are getting scarcer, and demand for many types is only rising, and will continue to do so, especially given the surge in wealth and industrial activity that would occur in the developing world. The damage to the resource based Canadian economy would be catastrophic. Thousands of Canadians would be put out of work as their places of employment were bankrupted by a combination of crushing Kyoto taxes, energy costs and competition from an unrestrained developing world. One study places the cost of Kyoto at a conservative $2700 per household, per year, based on information available in 2002.  This information is telling, but the costs of many items have risen significantly since 2002 (oil, for example, was worth approximately $25/US a barrel in 2002, it is now worth approximately $60! ) and given that there are approximately 14 million households in Canada, this cost (in 2002) dollars amounts to a total drain of gargantuan proportions, especially considering that there is no perceivable benefit! All of this money would be spent in other countries! Canadian industries could be further damaged as producers, unable to manufacture goods domestically at a profit, moved their facilities to Kyoto – exempt nations. This could make Canada an exporter of raw materials only, as value was added in nations whose economies operated without the loadstone of emissions taxes. In short, the Canadian public would be expected to suffer enormous increases in the cost of nearly every good and service, increased taxation, and job losses, to cut emissions by an amount that Kyoto exempt nations like Mexico, India and China could wipe out in a fiscal quarter of solid economic growth.

Paying Others to Pollute Here

Implementation of the Kyoto Protocol would, in essence, mean that Canada would be participating in a massive wealth re-distribution scheme, in which Canada would be the number one spender, and in which other participants would be spending far less, if anything at all! The “benchmark” for Kyoto emissions was set at 1990. This was a standard of great advantage to both the Europeans and Russians, but punitive to Canada. In 1990, the former Soviet states were in a state of vicious industrial decline due to the collapse of the command economies of the former Soviet Union; as such, their emissions were startlingly low. East and West Germany had also recently reunited, and the horribly inefficient Eastern industrial base had largely become quiet. This, along with the collapse of the East German coal industry and the factories which it supplied, which had fallen victim to the ruthlessly efficient west in the new, free market economy. In Britain, the Iron Lady, Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher had worked and succeeded to break the powerful coal mining unions in her country, and as a result, inefficient and polluting mines were shut down, simultaneously inspiring industry to switch to cleaner alternatives and raising the price of that commodity for foreign trade. As a result of these timely reformations, European (both eastern and western) and Russian emissions were at a low ebb, and falling immediately after the benchmark was decided upon in 1990, due to new nations calculating new amounts, and reformations which were healthy and ultimately necessary taking place. Canada was in the opposite situation. Canadian emissions were low in 1990, and have been on a steady rise ever since, especially with the signing of the North American Free Trade agreement in 1994, and the rising costs of oil, of which Canada is a net exporter. The benchmark of 1990 is highly advantageous to most signatories of the Kyoto Protocol. With 1990 as the benchmark, all of the annex 1 signatory nations have significant emissions “room” in which to expand their emissions, with the exception of Canada and Japan. The Japanese only signed the Protocol after it was ascertained that there would be no enforcement mechanism put in place, because they have no intention of enforcing it themselves, realizing the terrible economic costs it would have! Canada has the most ambitious of the Kyoto targets, and the most to lose by fulfilling their “obligation”. Nations like Russia and the Ukraine are likely to become net emissions credits exporters, so for them, the Kyoto Protocol was a great idea; they only had to sign, continue planned economic recovery, and sell a good (emissions credits) with no cost to themselves, but which would provide a large source of foreign exchange – in short, the ideal commodity for export! Canada is the only nation to sign and ratify the Kyoto Protocol which will actually have to pay the significant costs associated with it. Canadians will be paying Russians and Ukrainians to pollute Canada under Kyoto.

Kyoto Across Canada – Well, Most Of It

One of the first moves the Liberal government made in 2003, when the plans for how the Kyoto Protocol could be met were being drawn up, was to exempt the southern Ontario automotive manufacturers from any emissions cuts or regulations under the agreement.  This vital bastion of liberal electoral support is to be shielded from Kyoto cuts while the natural resource producing (but right leaning and conservative voting) west will bear the full brunt of this agreement. This means that Canadians will bear the full costs of Kyoto, but their place of residence will play a major part in just how much they pay, or whether they will have a job at all in the first place! While the issue of western alienation has always been a problem in Canada, this single action, even more than Pierre Trudeau’s wealth redistribution plan, the NEP (National Energy Plan), demonstrated to residents of western Canada that they were destined to forever be the “drawers of water and hewers of wood” for eastern Canada unless a sympathetic government could be voted in. The exemption of Liberal friendly ridings from Kyoto was perhaps the most telling action that proved that Canada has no plans to distribute the pain of Kyoto evenly, preferring to concentrate the negative effects in areas that are not traditional supporters of the Liberal party, and consolidate their hold on power even further.

The resource based economy of the west would also suffer even more under Kyoto, due to the nature of many of the economic activities in western Canada. The production of liquid oil from oil wells produces significant amounts of gases linked to climate change, which are either burned off or simply vented into the atmosphere as “fugitive gases”. While the practice of burning off natural gas was common a decade ago, the price of this resource has risen to the point where it is now worth it to capture it for sale. Even with this capture of a valuable by-product, however, the mechanics of the chief propellant of the western Canadian economy must be discussed to fully understand the implications of Kyoto as envisaged by the liberal party of Canada. The oil sands, centered in northern Alberta in the area to the north and west of the town of Fort McMurray, are the number one source of jobs, royalties and economic activity in western Canada. The process by which the bitumen (crude oil) is separated from the sand it lies in, involves the raw product being heated, then filtered, before being refined. This heating is largely done with natural gas, leading to the specter of a possible five levels of taxation on what are already the most expensive costs of oil production in the world. The first is the provincial royalties that must be paid on the resource as it is removed from the ground. The second is the cost of paying the Kyoto emissions cost for the fugitive gases that are produced, the third, the Kyoto tax levied on the natural gas used to separate the sand from the bitumen, the fourth on the fugitive gases produced by the refining process, and the fifth and final taxes being levied by the provincial and federal governments “at the pump” or source of purchase. Even in an industry as profitable as the oil industry currently is, the level of taxation mentioned here would strain any industry. Most disturbingly, all of the Kyoto “taxes” would be siphoned right out of the Canadian economy, providing plenty of local negative effects, with no tangible positives for Canadians. The combination of a possible five layered taxation scheme for western Canada and an exemption from Kyoto targets for the major economic activities in eastern Canada would be potent ammunition for disgruntled westerners, already disillusioned with the eastern – centric nature of the federal government. Kyoto is not only bad for the Canadian economy, it is also bad for Canadian unity, and has the potential to create a three way split of Canada, as opposed to the current French – English rift.

A Sovereign State – No Higher Authority

The final set of arguments against the Kyoto Protocol center on the ramifications of subordinating so many aspects of the lives of Canadian citizens to a collective of nations who are participants in a globally competitive marketplace, and the strategic and military consequences of handing over control of national economic machinery to organizations that do not act in the best interests of Canadians. The act of Canada subordinating itself to such a flawed treaty as the Kyoto Protocol with no national debate invalidates the purpose of Canadians voting or having representation in a federal system due to the fact that it is, in essence, creating a higher form of legitimate government. The difference is, that the Kyoto Protocol does not have elected representatives, it is merely a document. Canadians may well be justified in demanding their government take action to study or prevent climate change, but the impetus, plan, costs and benefits should be Canadian in source and destination. There is simply no excuse to pay Russians for the right to pollute Canada, that money could be better spent improving the efficiency of Canadian industry, or researching alternative sources of propulsion, power and profit. Canada probably should attempt to reduce emissions of Kyoto gases, but it should do so on Canadian terms.

The strategic implications of a post – Kyoto world are no less startling than the economic. China and India are two of the world’s fastest growing states. Both are nuclear powers, have massive human resources, and a strong desire to achieve the “prestige, power and influence” that Louis St. Laurent spoke of. These effects are directly tied to a national ability to raise two items; a large and ongoing source of foreign exchange, and a powerful military, capable of projecting power to areas where it can be used to further national objectives. China has made large strides in this area in recent years, modernizing the People’s Liberation Army, Navy and Air Force to the extent that it will soon be capable of challenging US supremacy in the Pacific. Canada adhering to the Kyoto Protocol would facilitate Chinese strategic goals in two ways. The first is that it would drive down the demand for sources of energy within Canada and depress the price of these commodities as the Canadian public consumed them less due to the high costs associated with them. The second is that since China (being a developing nation) is not subject to the Protocol, it would be able to purchase these resources at a reduced cost, further expanding the Chinese economy and the sources of foreign exchange. Canadians, would, in essence, be subsidizing the economic and military advancement of a state which does not share Canadian values or goals and simultaneously, is a rival of the staunch, long standing and faithful Canadian ally, the United States. The Kyoto Protocol is the opening volley of economic warfare against Canada and any other state foolhardy enough to sign it.

Canada should wholeheartedly reject the Kyoto Protocol, and publicly state the reasons why. The Kyoto Protocol is a global wealth and economic growth re-distribution scheme, disguised as an environmental protection treaty. Canadians under Kyoto would be poorer, and the benefactors of Canadian sacrifice would be in the undeveloped nations who took advantage of a deviously worded environmental treaty. Canada would be weak under Kyoto. Industrial production would lower and eventually outsourced, and the economy based almost solely on resource extraction and export, and as such, subject to the wild shifts of the commodity markets. The Canadian economy would enter an eternal “boom-bust” cycle as a result, guaranteeing the maintenance of a highly mobile, unskilled workforce constantly pursuing work in different parts of the nation. This stands in stark contrast to the Canadian economy of 2006, diversified, with a solid base in resource extraction and refinement, and an expanding knowledge based category. There are no benefits to the Kyoto Protocol which could not be achieved in Canada, with Canadian innovation, without the damage to the economy that the developing world demands.






 
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