Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Why I Oppose Kyoto

Before I get into the nitty-gritty of the accord, let me just say that I think global warming is real. I think that it is a crucial issue which must be confronted. I do not think that the Kyoto Protocol is the way to do it. Here are 5 reasons why:

1. A State Based Solution to A Non-State Based Problem

The Kyoto Protocol asks certain countries to reduce their emissions to varying amounts below 1990 levels. The measuring tool used is all emissions that are actually made in a given country. So a widget produced in Canada causing 1 unit of pollution is added to the Canadian total regardless of where the widget is sold/used. Thus, the ecological cost of a barrel of oil produced in Alberta or a car produced in Ontario is charged to Canada even if it is being used in the United States or Europe. Kyoto assumes that all goods produced in a country are used in a country and that all goods used in a country are produced there. Neither of these things are true. Thus, a country that produces a lot and imports little looks better than a country that produces more and imports less. The great irony of course is that a large importer of goods is actually taxing the environment further by shipping goods from one place to another. A barrel of oil produced in Nigeria and sold in the US is a far greater damage than one produced domestically. These problems are ignored by the protocol because it is trying to work at the state level. The globalized economy is not under state control.

As both Stephane Dion and Gerard Kennedy point out in their policy documents on the environment, it is essentially an economic issue. Any real solution to the environment on the global scale are to be found at the International Monetary Fund. Well, maybe not the IMF, because it can't do anything, but at an economic summit. It will not be found at a meeting of environment ministers.

2. Europe Does Not a Global Treaty Make

One of Kyoto's most deadly flaws is that it is not a global treaty. The number of non-EU countries still committed to actually doing anything under Kyoto (Appendix I countries) is eight. Of those eight, only three are really non-European: Canada, Japan and New Zealand. The rationale for this is that these are the only countries that can afford to make the changes necessary to abide by Kyoto. I would say that their are a quite a few non-European countires missing from the list. Ignoring for the moment the fact that the US and Australia have withdrawn, where are the oil rich arab states? How about Singapore? South Korea? The list goes on.

However, this accepts Kyoto's logic that only the first world is responsible for cleaning the world. Major polluters like China and India are left to do as they please because they are developping countries. CO2 emissions from China and India are as damaging as they would be from Canada. People argue that it is wrong to deny developping countries a chance to develop as the West did. If China and India are allowed to develop in the same way as the West did, we are in for an environmental catastrophe. Global warming requires a global solution, not a Europe and friends solution.

3. What's In A Date? Quite a Bit!

Ever wonder why Russia has all these credits to sell (see point 4) under the protocol? Well, that's because instead of using as a start date the day the treaty was signed, the signatories agreed to the seeming random date of 1990. Let's see what's happened since 1990 in Russia? Oh yeah, the economy collapsed! Russia didn't go green, it went to shit! However, it isn't just Russia that benefits from that early date. The whole Eastern Bloc has rebuilt the old horribly environmental damaging industries since 1990. Even the Germans benefit.

In North America, a different problem arises with 1990. 1990 is of course before NAFTA came into effect and just after the FTA. Industry from the United States has found home in both Canada and Mexico since 1990, raising our pollution numbers and lowering the Americans. Does it mean that American industry is cleaner? No, it means there's less of it.

4. Pollution for Sale! Today's Special: Carbon Monoxide!

Okay, so that's a little crass. However, the idea that environmental credits can be bought and sold like stock futures is absurd. The world will not get cooler because the Canadian government pays the Russian government for their collapsed economy. Kyoto is supposed to be a starting point. It is supposed to be a first step. Allowing countries to buy their way out, makes it a non-step.

5. Oh, Nobody Else in this Treaty actually has Natural Resources? Woops!

Okay, that's not entirely true but let's face facts. Russia the largest oil producer in the treaty, doesn't have to do a thing about its oil industry in order to comply with Kyoto. The Norwegians, the only other major oil producer outside of Canada, realizing that oil is slightly polluting, set a target for themselves of 101% of 1990 levels. That's a full seven points higher than the Canadian level and 9 points higher than EU states. The reality is, no other country with Canada's committment has an economy so based on the extraction of natural resources, a very environmentally damaging process. Canada is a special case. Kyoto does not acknowledge this. Canada would need to bend over backwards in order to reach its Kyoto targets. I don't think its worth hurting ourselves for a treaty that will not do very much good from an ecological perspective.

Canada should work hard to make its industries as green as possible. We should also work with the international community to get a treaty that will actually help the environment.

4 comments:

Gavin Neil said...

If the participating countires lived up to their commitments, it would help the environment. It's not perfect, but it's better than the current alternative, which is for people who don't care about the environment to rely on people like you who do to oppose kyoto anyway because it's not perfect.

Anonymous said...

You are wasting your time with your well thought out criticism of Kyoto. Nobody from the supporting side will allow any critics to be heard.

Anonymous said...

Are there any honest lawyers in Canada? Why isn't the RCMP investigating Jim Flaherty for betraying Canada? This so-called Conservative Finance Minister relies on the welfare policies of Australia to tax the children of hard-working Canadians?

That's TREASON, as far as I am concerned. I think Canada has had enough of corrupt lawyers like Peter Shoniker, who admitted to laundering $700,000 through a bank in New York City and to theft for taking $50,000 in payment. In particular, these people deserve the death penalty for what they fail to admit.

Likewise, Jim Flaherty thinks he can rely on a cloak of absolute secrecy to screw Canadians? SCREW FLAHERTY, he's the Minority.

Click here to see how lawyers screw Canadians.

Anonymous said...

Are there any honest lawyers in Canada? Why isn't the RCMP investigating Jim Flaherty for betraying Canada? This so-called Conservative Finance Minister relies on the welfare policies of Australia to tax the children of hard-working Canadians?

That's TREASON, as far as I am concerned. I think Canada has had enough of corrupt lawyers like Peter Shoniker, who admitted to laundering $700,000 through a bank in New York City and to theft for taking $50,000 in payment. In particular, these people deserve the death penalty for what they fail to admit.

Likewise, Jim Flaherty thinks he can rely on a cloak of absolute secrecy to screw Canadians? SCREW FLAHERTY, he's the Minority.

Click here to see how lawyers screw Canadians.

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