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Ditching Kyoto: Environment Minister in clear Disregard for Canada's Commitments PDF Print E-mail
Earth News
Friday, 07 April 2006 03:11
Ditching Kyoto: Environment Minister's Clear Disregard for Canada's Commitments

PEJ News - Joan Russow - Canada will be taking on the presidency in the upcoming meeting of the parties of the Kyoto protocol of the Framework Convention on Climate Change. On April 7 in question period Rona Ambrose, minister of the environment stated in parliament the position that the minority government would take at the May 15 meeting of the parties on Climate Change. Taking a position without consultion clearly contravenes the commitment that the Conservatives made in the speech from the throne. In the speech from the throne the Conservatives made a commitment to consult with parliament prior to crafting a position that Canada would be taking internationally.

www.PEJ.org
Canadian environment minister in clear disregard for commitment in Speech from the Throne

She should also be reminded that it was the Mulroney government that signed and ratified the Framework Convention on Climate Change in 1992 and while still in power proceeded, to resist implementation of the Convention.

It appears that in this case the Conservative minister of Environment has unilaterally decided that Canada should abandon previous long standing obligations under Kyoto and the Framework Convention on climate Change. Within 3 days of the speech from the throne, the Conservative government through the actions Environment Minister's arrogantly declared the position of Canada vis a vis Kyoto and the commitments made by her government to consult prior to taking a position for international conferences. True consultation is more than a "take note but no vote" stance. It is quite clear, that if vote were taken in this minority parliament, the position to be taken by parliament would be distinct from the position currently taken by the Conservative government. taxpayers on how they spend their money.

Clearly, the campaign by the fossil fuel industry successful undermined the Climate Change Convention. Nevertheless, Canadian governments are bound by this convention and have no other choice than to embark upon the following actions:

1. Conserving carbon sinks

? Preserve and enhance sinks (forests and bogs), in particular, preserve original growth and conservation corridors, and institute a fair and just transition program for workers and communities

? Ban all forest practices such as clear cut logging and broadcast burning that reduce carbon sinks on crown and private lands

? Encourage reforestation and restoration of damaged forest ecosystems such as the extensive volume of Not Sufficiently Restocked land

2. Reducing greenhouse gas emissions

? Establish and enforce a national dedicated program for energy conservation and efficiency, and end all subsidies to the fossil fuel and nuclear energy industries.

? Transfer all energy-directed funding into renewable energies that are ecologically safe and sound.

? Phase out the use of fossil fuels and nuclear energy (as recommended in the Nobel Laureate Declaration prepared for UNCED, 1992), and prohibit all new drilling, including offshore drilling.

? Establish extensive networks of alternative environmentally safe and sound means of transportation (as agreed in Agenda 21), move away from car-dependency (as agreed in Habitat II) and cease the construction of all new highways. Ensure that all new urban and rural constructions be founded on environmentally sound principles, principles including environmentally sound energy, and public transportation.

?Provide for and support the conversion of existing urban and rural settlements to environmentally sound principles including environmentally sound energy, and public transportation, including rail.

? Phase out immediately the use of the pesticides that contribute to climate change and promote organic agriculture

Finally government must provide additional funds from their budgets to assist in implementing the above measures coupled with ensuring a fair and just job transition strategy for workers and communities affected. Governments must above all move away from overconsumptive patterns of development as agreed through numerous international agreements, and reduce the ecological footprint as agreed at the Habitat II conference, 1996.

Canada continues to demonstrate its lack of resolve to seriously address and to honestly discharge its international obligations related to climate change. Until Canada is willing to fulfill these obligations through enactment of the necessary legislation with mandatory standards and regulations, little substantial change will occur to reduce the greenhouse gases and to conserve the carbon sinks both of which are essential for addressing climate change.

The government should be called upon immediately to bring the issues of climate change and Canada?s commitment to parliament and to have the courage to provide an opportunity for parliament to vote on Canada's position at the upcoming review of Canada's obligations under the Kyoto Protocol under the Framework Convention on Climate Change.

Unless parliament votes on a different position than that currently advocated by the Conservative government, Canada will be isolated as an international pariah. .

Perhaps the Minister should recognize that at Globe 2006, following the plenary panel on climate change, a representative of the insurance agency outline effectively the urgency of the issue of climate change. Following his presentation the 1500 or more attendants of the plenary, when asked, if there was any participants that did not recognize the urgency of the climate change issue no one stood up. or raised their hands. The plenary was composed of representatives of the fossil fuel industry, alternative energy promoters , government departments, socially responsible investments some of whom in past years who have even denied climate change as a hoax.

Joan Russow (PhD)
Global Compliance Research Project


CLIMATE CHANGE:


GOVERNMENTS? FAILED COMMITMENTS: PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENTS ENDORSED CLIMATE CHANGE CONVENTION

Printed in the Times Colonist, Victoria
Joan Russow and David White

The federal and provincial governments have ignored 1988 warning /recommendations and have reneged on commitments made in the 1992 Framework Convention on Climate Change.

Back in 1988, Canada played a leading role in the Climate Change issue by hosting an international conference, "The Changing Atmosphere", in Toronto. At that time scientists, politicians and members of non Government organizations (NGOs), and even corporations attending the conference warned that:

"Humanity is conducting an unintended, uncontrolled, globally pervasive experiment whose ultimate consequence could be second only to a global nuclear war. The Earth's atmosphere is being changed at an unprecedented rate by pollutants resulting from wasteful fossil fuel use ... These changes represent a major threat to international security and are already having harmful consequences over many parts of the globe.... it is imperative to act now".

and recommended:

"the stabilizing of the atmospheric concentrations of CO2 is an imperative goal. It is cu





,?

- as the signatory of the Framework Convention on Climate Change - is the responsible wing of government to ensure that Canada discharges its obligations under the Convention. The 1937 Supreme Court decision in the International Labour Convention case established the precedent that provincial governments would be bound in matters of national interest and where they were consulted. At a meeting of provincial energy ministers in Whitehorse on September 21, 1992, the Canadian Council of (CEM) wrote to Hon. Barbara McDougall and expressed their support for ratification by the end of this year, and in Aylmer, in November 1992, the provincial environment ministers supported the Federal government's ratification of the Framework Convention on Climate Change.

The Climate Change Convention came into force in the spring of 1994. Under the Convention, the signatories of the Convention were bound to invoke the precautionary principle which affirmed that governments should take precautionary measures to anticipate, prevent, or minimize the causes of climate change and mitigate its adverse effects. Where there is the threat of serious or irreversible damage, lack of full scientific certainty should not be used as a reason for postponing measures to prevent the threat. This principle is now deemed to be a principle of international customary law. Governments also endorsed the principle of addressing climate change for the benefit of future generations.

The commitment was to reduce greenhouse gas production and ?return by the end of the present decade to earlier levels of anthropogenic emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases.? The methods outlined in the Treaty included conserving carbon sinks rather than embark on various schemes for offsetting greenhouse gases or for emissions trading. The Federal government then made a subsequent commitment to reduce CO2 emissions to 1990 levels by the year 2000.

Currently, it is estimated that Canada is now above 15% of the 1990 level. This increase has come after a prolonged campaign by the fossil fuel industry which has funded the political election campaigns of the Liberal and Alliance and Progressive Conservative politicians. The industry has also contracted several scientists in an attempt to undermine the widespread agreement of the international intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change by questioning the urgency of the current situation and obfuscating any resolve to seriously address the Climate Change issue. The precautionary principle is an operative principle that gives justification for rejecting the views of those scientists and politicians marginalized by vested interests.

In June, 1997, at the ?Rio + 5? United Nations Conference in New York, the Energy Caucus (Non Governmental Organization-NGO) called for at least a 20% reduction from 1990 levels of Greenhouse gases. The fossil fuel industry has labeled these organizations by the pejorative ?special interest? and has attempted to marginalize them.

The Canadian governments along with the corporate sector have proposed measures to justify not acting to conserve existing sinks or to prevent anthropogenic sources of greenhouse gases. These measures include emission trading, purchasing old growth forests to offset Canada's greenhouse gas emissions and overconsumptive patterns, reopening civil nuclear reactors, and selling CANDU civil nuclear reactors to other countries.

Clearly, the campaign by the fossil fuel industry successful undermined the Climate Change Convention. Nevertheless, Canadian governments are bound by this convention and have no other choice than to embark upon the following actions:

1. Conserving carbon sinks

? Preserve and enhance sinks (forests and bogs), in particular, preserve original growth and conservation corridors, and institute a fair and just transition program for workers and communities


? Ban all forest practices such as clear cut logging and broadcast burning that reduce carbon sinks on crown and private lands

? Encourage reforestation and restoration of damaged forest ecosystems such as the extensive volume of Not Sufficiently Restocked land

2. Reducing greenhouse gas emissions

? Establish and enforce a national dedicated program for energy conservation and efficiency, and end all subsidies to the fossil fuel and nuclear energy industries.

? Transfer all energy-directed funding into renewable energies that are ecologically safe and sound.

? Phase out the use of fossil fuels and nuclear energy (as recommended in the Nobel Laureate Declaration prepared for UNCED, 1992), and prohibit all new drilling, including offshore drilling.

? Establish extensive networks of alternative environmentally safe and sound means of transportation (as agreed in Agenda 21), move away from car-dependency (as agreed in Habitat II) and cease the construction of all new highways. Ensure that all new urban and rural constructions be founded on environmentally sound principles, principles including environmentally sound energy, and public transportation.

?Provide for and support the conversion of existing urban and rural settlements to environmentally sound principles including environmentally sound energy, and public transportation, including rail.

? Phase out immediately the use of the pesticides that contribute to climate change and promote organic agriculture

Finally government must provide additional funds from their budgets to assist in implementing the above measures coupled with ensuring a fair and just job transition strategy for workers and communities affected. Governments must above all move away from overconsumptive patterns of development as agreed through numerous international agreements, and reduce the ecological footprint as agreed at the Habitat II conference, 1996.

Canada continues to demonstrate its lack of resolve to seriously address and to honestly discharge its international obligations related to climate change. Until Canada is willing to fulfill these obligations through enactment of the necessary legislation with mandatory standards and regulations, little substantial change will occur to reduce the greenhouse gases and to conserve the carbon sinks both of which are essential for addressing climate change.

Printed in the Oak Bay news Victoria

Federal government's procrastination on Climate Change

In 1988, Canada played a leading role in the Climate Change issue by hosting an international conference, The Changing Atmosphere, in Toronto. At that time scientists, politicians and members of non Government organizations (NGOs) at the conference warned that:

Humanity is conducting an unintended, uncontrolled, globally pervasive experiment whose ultimate consequence could be second only to a global nuclear war. the Earth's atmosphere is being changed at an unprecedented rate by pollutants resulting from wasteful fossil fuel use ... These changes represent a major threat to international security and are already having harmful consequences over many parts of the globe.... it is imperative to act now.

In the Conference Statement from the 1988 Conference, the participants agreed that:

the Stabilizing of the atmospheric concentrations of CO2 is an imperative goal. It is currently estimated to require reductions of more than 50% from present [1988] emission levels. Energy research and development budgets must be massively directed to energy options which would eliminate or greatly reduce CO2 emissions and to studies undertaken to further refine the target reductions.

Then in 1992, Canada signed (June, 1992) and ratified (December, 1992) the Framework Convention on Climate Change. Under that Convention, Canada was obliged to reduce Greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by the year 2000.

The Federal Department of Justice has been derelict in failing to exercise its duty to ensure the Federal government's compliance with the Framework Convention on Climate Change. .Under, the Department of Justice Act, the Department is responsible for "providing legal advice in all areas of international law , particularly on questions of treaty implementation"

The Department of justice failed to advise the Canadian government on two appropriate legal responses to the Framework Convention on Climate Change: (i) to ensure that prior to signing the Framework Convention on Climate Change convention, Canada had already enacted the necessary legislation required for compliance, or (ii) to ensure that, subsequent to ratifying the Framework Convention on Climate Change (in the event of there being a discrepancy between existing legislation and obligations under the Convention) Canada enact the necessary legislation required for compliance. The Department of Justice appears to have done neither, even though the Department of Justice must have been aware of the statement circulated by the Department of Foreign Affairs in response to a request from the international community about "Parliaments and treaty making power"

Canada will not normally become a party to an international agreement which requires implementing legislation until the necessary legislation has been enacted ...

If the existing laws of Canada (including Provincial and Federal Statures, as well as the general rules of common law and the civil code of the Province of Quebec) do not confer upon the Government of Canada the capacity to discharge the obligations it proposes to undertake in a treaty, then it will be necessary for the appropriate legislative body, federal or provincial, to enact legislation to enable Canada to discharge its treaty obligations.

Canada thus has misled the international community by suggesting that, when an international agreement is ratified, there would be implementing legislation that would enable Canada to discharge its obligations.

Since 1992 Canada has been bound to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and conserve carbon sinks. The time for procrastination has more than passed.

Joan Russow PhD
Global Compliance Research Project








The government should be called upon immediately to bring the issues of climate change and canada's commitment to parliament and to have the couage to provide an opportunity for parliament to vote on Canada's posiiton at the upcoming review of Canada's obligations under the Kyoto Protocol under the Framework Convention on Climate Change.








Unless parliament votes on a different position than that currently advocated by the Conservative governemnt, Canada will be isolated as an internaitonal pariah. .


















Perhaps the Minister should recognize that at Globe 2006, following the plenary panel on climate change, a representative of the insurance agency outlined effectively the urgency of the issue of climate change. Following his presentation the 1500 or more attendees of the plenary, when I asked, if there were any participants that did not recognize the urgency of the climate change issue, no one stood up. or raised their hands. The plenary was composed of representatives of the fossil fuel industry, alternative energy promoters , government departments, socially responsbile investments representives. in past years, the fossil fuel industry who had dismissed climate change as a hoax.



Last Updated on Friday, 07 April 2006 03:11
 

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