The federal government aims to wrap up the House of Commons debate on ratifying the Kyoto Protocol, some say as early as December 11, 2002, the fifth anniversary of the original signing of the deal in Japan. Prime Minister Jean Chretien has informed his caucus that the vote on the motion to ratify Kyoto will be considered a confidence motion, meaning that all Liberal Members of Parliament will be expected to vote for the treaty or risk party discipline.
In the fall the Government of Canada released its draft plan, Climate Change: Achieving our Commitments Together. The draft plan — which would involve about 240 megatonnes of emission reductions per year — asks industry to bear as much as 40 per cent of the total burden for cutting greenhouse gases and asks consumers to take less than 10 per cent of the load.
Several business leaders, premiers and provincial environment ministers have criticized the draft plan, saying it is unrealistic, based on questionable science, and too short on specifics. Alberta Environment Minister Lorne Taylor accused the federal government of trying to rush a vague plan and called on Ottawa to delay a ratification vote until 2003. He says the draft plan lacks the detail to allow an informed decision by the end of 2002.
In a speech in Edmonton on December 3, the Prime Minister said that so-called heavy emitters, mostly energy companies, would be liable for only 55 megatonnes of the required emission reductions. Above 55 would be the responsibility of the government.
Read the Editorial “Under the Weather” in the October/November edition of Hazardous Materials Management magazine at www. hazmatmag.com
Read the draft plan overview and the Kyoto Protocol: