House of Commons Hansard #107 of the 37th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was finance.


Climate ChangePrivate Members' Business

November 1st, 2001 / 5:30 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Bob Mills Canadian Alliance Red Deer, AB


That, in the opinion of this House, the government should renew discussions on climate change through the development of a new transparent, accountable consultation process, based on sound science and economic study, that results in realistic goals for carbon emissions reduction.

Madam Speaker, it is certainly my pleasure to speak today about this most important subject. I think this will be one of the subjects, next to terrorism, that in the next few months will be on many people's minds.

In times of peace and prosperity it is very easy to talk about things, to agree to treaties and to promise things without really knowing what they mean or what they might do to the Canadian public. It would be easy to find the money to cover up some of these loose promises, but now we are in a different situation. In times of crisis like these, talk is expensive. Words are expensive. Every word carries great weight. In times of crisis we must renew those commitments made when we were in a free and easy mode. Those commitments made with great optimism but without regard for consequences were excusable then but are inexcusable now.

This brings me to the subject for today. I think that within the next year Canadians will be facing perhaps the most expensive government commitment since World War II. I am not talking about new security measures, which will undoubtedly be costly. I am not talking about the ongoing war against terrorism, which will also be costly. I am talking about Canada's commitment, signed in 1997, to the Kyoto protocol. As we speak meetings are going on in Marrakesh with the intention of ratifying it. The minister will be joining those meetings next week.

In light of that I have put forward my motion today to, I hope, begin discussion in the House about this most important subject. I strongly believe that the Kyoto protocol is not the right answer for climate change. I agree there is climate change but I do not think the Kyoto protocol is the answer.

I would like to address the specific flaws of the accord and present my vision of an action plan that would much more effectively address the problems of climate change and greenhouse gas emissions. The Kyoto protocol would do little to help the environment, yet at the same time it would bring great pain to the Canadian economy. Very simply, I believe that the Kyoto protocol is unworkable, and if this house is built on sand and a storm comes, this house will fall down.

Kyoto is a bad agreement. It is an agreement built on sand. The storms of reality have come since September 11 and the Kyoto house will undoubtedly fall. The best we can do is tear it down before we Canadians get hurt. While filled with good intentions, the protocol would do little to prevent global warming. The actual accomplishments of Kyoto, if its carbon emission reductions were to be met, would be almost nothing.

One of the lead scientists involved in the International Panel on Climate Change has estimated that if all countries that signed the protocol, including the U.S., lived up to their commitments, projected climate change would be reduced by only less than one-fifth of a degree celsius by the year 2100. In other words, projected climate change would be delayed by only six years by 2100, yet developed nations are willing to spend trillions of dollars for just six years. For all those trillions of dollars spent worldwide to implement the protocol, it would achieve almost no reduction in projected temperature increases.

If ratified, the protocol would legally bind Canada to reduce its emissions to 6% below 1990 levels. This is certainly no easy task especially considering that in 1999 Canada was 15% above 1990 levels and 22% above Kyoto commitments. How can we expect to reduce emissions below 1990 levels when we have pushed ourselves so far above them?

Let me remind everyone that in 1997 the Liberal government entered into the Kyoto talks without a plan. In fact, we were the only G-8 country without a public position before Kyoto. The Reform Party at the time pushed for accountability. What was the Liberal plan? How much would it cost? Nothing was forthcoming from the government. There was only constant evasion of the question, with big words but no plan. Let me also remind the House that now in 2001 the Liberal government, threatening to ratify Kyoto, still has very little idea of a concrete plan or its cost. It entered into the Kyoto protocol full of great intentions but with empty words and no notion of the costs of implementation.

The Prime Minister has yet to open his eyes to the drastic effects of ratifying Kyoto. So far the Liberals have plans to meet only one-third of the Kyoto commitment. The most interesting developments and repeated assertions by the Prime Minister and his colleagues are that they support development of Alberta's tar sands and other production for export to the U.S. That is going in exactly the reverse direction of meeting the Kyoto commitment, yet they still claim they can meet their targets.

The United States has now rejected the Kyoto protocol. The country that emits close to 25% of the world's emissions is not bound by the protocol. It has decided there are better ways to fight climate change and in co-operation with industry is looking for more effective solutions. It is looking for solutions and it is getting there. Canada is not.

Our biggest trading partner is exempt from a hugely expensive burden that will affect every person in Canada. Not only would this mean that the much higher energy prices in Canada compared to the U.S. would drive many businesses away from Canada to other countries, and what our dollar is doing now is nothing compared to what it will do if we ratify Kyoto, it would also mean that pollution is not eliminated, only transferred to another country.

As well, not only is the pollution in many cases transferred to a different part of the world but companies will not be pressured into developing and implementing cleaner technologies that can have benefits for air quality.

The government's own projections of the cost of implementing the Kyoto protocol lie between 1.5% of Canada's real GDP per year to an unbelievable 10% of real GDP per year. The Liberals have promised no carbon tax and no new energy program for controlling the wealth of energy rich provinces, but carbon emissions trading schemes being considered in order to reach Kyoto targets are only another name for a carbon tax or a new national energy program and they may be more expensive.

We must remember that economic recessions are defined by 1% to 2% reductions in GDP. We must also note that our economy has been slowing for many months. The September 11 attacks have slowed this growth even further. Adding one recession to the recession that would be brought about by Kyoto would mean economic depression.

Even though the government continues to boast about its spending of $2 billion on climate change, it forgets to tell about the total cost to Canadians, which is billions and billions of dollars in lost revenue in this country. This means that jobs, technological advancements and our very security will be threatened. It also means money for our environmental programs is seriously compromised. Air quality monitoring, particulate reduction, water treatment, endangered species protection and stewardship programs are badly hurt by such ineffective spending, but these programs have the very tangible results that Canadians want and deserve.

Another fundamental flaw of Kyoto is the way it does not include developing countries. While developed countries had in the past been the biggest greenhouse gas emitters and are responsible for most greenhouse gas emissions, according to the U.S. department of state the net emissions from developing countries now exceed those of developed countries. I have been to Beijing, Mexico City, Rio and Santiago and have literally chewed the air. That is what is happening in those developing countries. I know that these emission problems are our responsibility, but we need to help those developing countries, not simply do things to Canadian industry. How do we help these nations leapfrog the terrible industrial pollution levels that they will face in the coming decade? They must be included in renewed discussions.

That leads me to my vision of renewed climate change discussions and more realistic domestic action. The government's empty words, loose promises and commitments must give way to meaningful words and effective action. We are in a time of crisis and our words carry much power.

We have long been bound by the Kyoto protocol, but it now must die. The protocol has created much awareness of the climate change issue. It has created much that is good but also much that is not good. It is holding us back from new commitments and new action to address climate change. It is Canada's climate change albatross and it has to be taken from around our neck. It is time to move on this issue.

First, I believe that we must break the pressures that Kyoto will create. We must put an extra push on renewed research into the great gaps of climate change science. The Liberal government has invested much in the Kyoto protocol and it will not admit the weakness of climate change science. Much science is not objective here. Much of the time this science is government supported to prove the Liberal government's position. This must change.

It might allow for more recent developments such as prominent U.S. NASA scientist James Hansen's recent research about how reducing certain carbon air particulates may be a much more effective way of combating climate change than the constraints of Kyoto. Such an approach makes sense. Reduce particulates that have tremendous health impacts while reducing climate change. This would be a double benefit rather than Kyoto's double drawback.

A 12 year old girl wrote me horrified by what she thought climate change was going to do. She thought there was going to be a 20 degrees Celsius increase in temperature, massive flooding, violent weather and so on. She was terrified for herself and her family. I sent information to this young girl telling her that things were not that bad, that scare tactics were being used. Let us get back to the real science.

Second, so much potential good is lost when money is wasted. Tangible and necessary environmental programs such as water treatment, air quality monitoring and stewardship programs are compromised when money is wasted. The huge amount of money wasted on Kyoto is much better spent on increased support for research and development and cleaner energy technologies.

An hour ago I visited an ethanol plant here in this city. That is one of the technologies we must promote. By focusing on technology, our economy avoids being depressed while better support for research and development helps to guarantee faster leaps and bounds in clean technologies which we can then pass on or sell to developing countries.

In the present climate of uncertainty and heightened security, it also makes sense to support the development of a diversified supply of energy sources including natural gas, ethanol, fossil fuels, wind and hydro, hydrogen fuel cells, and so on. Five years in energy technologies make a world of difference. A five year old power plant is dirty compared to one built today. With increased support this will occur even faster. A strong economy is critical for these technological leaps and bounds to happen.

Third, while targets in international discussions are possible, they cannot take place without significant experience with domestic localized action. The provinces must agree to any commitments made in these international discussions. More local tangible actions are meaningful and must be where the bigger ideas of international targets find their inspiration and their roots. Commitments must be meaningful rather than being pie in the sky. This means having realistic goals worked out with those who are largely responsible for meeting those targets: the provinces and industry.

Fourth, the United States, Mexico and our other trading partners under continental programs must be in agreement before we sign any protocol. Unlike the European Union, we are just at the beginning of developing new co-operation. We cannot be put at an unfair disadvantage to our key trading partners. Again, this means pollution is only redistributed and we are hit with severe economic problems.

Fifth, we must include developing nations in climate change discussions. This does not mean setting targets for them; it means helping them to leapfrog.

Sixth, we must continue to focus on programs that encourage energy and resource efficiency. Where possible, ways and means that encourage Canadians to be more efficient in their use of these resources must be supported and discussed.

Climate ChangePrivate Members' Business

5:45 p.m.

Kitchener Centre Ontario


Karen Redman LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of the Environment

Madam Speaker, I would like to take this opportunity to thank the hon. member for Red Deer for his motion to discuss the goals for carbon emission reduction.

The seventh Conference of the Parties, also known as CoP, currently is being held in Marrakesh. The purpose of the session is to finalize the text of the Bonn agreement which was reached at CoP six this past July. As the Prime Minister has said, the Bonn agreement opens the way for Canada's ratification of the Kyoto protocol next year, following full consultations with provinces, territories, stakeholders and other Canadians.

The public input on the ratification decision and the approaches that the Government of Canada could use to meet our targets and commitments will be the focus of these consultations. Work is currently under way to design this process. I want to be clear that the process will build on a large number of consultations that have been and will continue to be conducted by the federal government since the original Kyoto agreement which was signed in 1997.

For example in 1998, federal and provincial energy and environment ministers established the national climate change process. This initiative created 16 issue tables involving 450 experts from industry, academia, nongovernmental organizations and the government. A number of climate change initiatives in the federal government's action plan 2000 on climate change have drawn extensively from the results of this work already undertaken.

In addition, joint meetings of federal, provincial and territorial energy and environment ministers are held regularly to discuss various approaches to meeting our Kyoto target. Through our public education and outreach activities, the federal government has been reaching out to Canadians, both through door to door and national campaigns, working to ensure that Canadians have the information they need to participate fully in climate change discussions.

The government feels strongly that a rich discussion involving government, industry, interest groups and Canadians is critically important. Let me say unequivocally that the government's goals for reducing greenhouse gas emissions are realistic. We are committed under the Kyoto protocol to reducing our emissions to 6% below 1990 levels by the period between 2008 and 2012. That amounts to a 200 megaton reduction per year by 2010.

Similarly our plans for meeting that goal are realistic. The Government of Canada has invested $1.1 billion in climate change initiatives through budget 2000 and action plan 2000. Together with the sinks component of the Bonn agreement these could deliver about one-half of the 200 megaton reduction that we need to reduce emissions to meet our said target.

We currently are developing additional initiatives to take us the rest of the way to our Kyoto target. The consultations that the government will be undertaking will focus on different policy approaches for achieving this goal. These consultations have been and will continue to be based solidly on sound science. Indeed the science of climate change has advanced considerably in recent years. We now understand better how climate systems function and we have a greater confidence in our models for making projections.

Last January the world's best climate scientists, including many from Canada, worked together through the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and released the third assessment report on climate change. I would like to quote directly from that report. In it, the IPCC said “there is new and stronger evidence that most of the warming observed over the last 50 years is attributable to human activity”.

Because of that human activity we can expect average global temperatures to rise anywhere from one and a half to six degrees Celsius by the end of this century. In Canada we could see even greater temperature increases in some regions. I want to be very clear that we understand the huge impact that this seemingly small change could have in average temperature.

Let me remind hon. members that during the last ice age average temperatures were only five degrees cooler than they are today. A simple five degree increase in average temperature was enough to melt the vast ice sheets that covered this continent.

Science tells us there will be dramatic consequences to the increases in temperature that we are facing. There could be more severe weather events such as thunderstorms, heavy rain, hail and tornadoes. These could take a heavy toll on human lives and property. Longer and more intense heat waves could make air pollution even worse in urban areas. We could see more droughts like the one that spread virtually from coast to coast this past summer which would affect agriculture and increase the risk of forest fires. Dryer conditions may also affect the quantity and quality of our drinking water.

In summary, sound science is the basis for sound policy. Canadian scientists have an international reputation for excellence in climate science and in modelling future climate through general circulation models. In budget 2000 the Government of Canada created the Canadian Foundation for Climate and Atmospheric Sciences to improve our understanding of climate processes and improve our ability to predict future climate. This will help Canadians in various sectors in all regions of the country adapt to the changing climate.

However, sound science is just one part of the picture. Sound economic analysis is also critical. Economic study underpins all of our efforts to achieve Kyoto and its targets in the most cost effective manner possible. Through the national climate change process the government has been working with the provinces and the territories to undertake extensive analytical work on a number of fronts. We are examining, among others, the economic implications of different policy options for meeting our goals, trade and competitiveness implications, and the role of major economic instruments such as domestic emissions trading.

Sound science tells us we need to act. Sound economic analysis tells us our goals for reducing emissions are indeed realistic and that we can seize opportunities by acting.

The Government of Canada will be consulting with Canadians over the next several months based on this science and this analysis to gain their input on the best policy options for meeting our Kyoto target. There is one thing we can be sure of and that is that we are committed to meeting our Kyoto target. We believe that Canadians will support us in that goal.

Message from the SenatePrivate Members' Business

5:50 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Ms. Bakopanos)

I have the honour to inform the House that a message has been received from the Senate informing this House that the Senate has passed certain bills, to which the concurrence of this House is desired.

The House resumed consideration of the motion.

Climate ChangePrivate Members' Business

5:55 p.m.


Bernard Bigras Bloc Rosemont—Petite-Patrie, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise today to take part in the debate on climate change and, in particular, the motion moved by my colleague from Red Deer.

Admittedly the motion will initiate real debate on climate change on the eve of a major conference on climate change to be held in Marrakesh, following an agreement signed by the parties at the conference No. 6 in Bonn last July.

Before dealing more specifically with the issue and my colleague's motion, I would like to indicate Quebec's firm support for the important Kyoto protocol.

Not only is it important and is Quebec committed to meeting the goals set in the protocol, but on April 10 the national assembly unanimously passed a resolution stating, and I quote:

That the National Assembly ask the federal government to restate its commitment to meeting the greenhouse gas reduction goals set by the Kyoto protocol on climate change, and urge the federal government to take an active part in the current efforts aimed at asking for negotiations so that as many states as possible ratify the protocol.

To Quebec then it is clear that Canada must commit not only to a greenhouse gas reduction but also to prompt ratification of the Kyoto protocol. I must say that it is somewhat disappointing on the eve of this important conference at Marrakesh that the protocol has not been ratified here in Canada.

We will recaIl that in Bonn last July a number of agreements were concluded between the parties. The Bonn agreement might be summarized as one in which the members of the conference identified methods for assessing efforts toward attaining the objectives.

As well, it was determined among the parties what sanctions would be imposed on conference member countries should they decide not to respect the commitments made on the international level.

It is also important to bear in mind that unfortunately the United States decided to withdraw from the negotiating table for reasons of its own. I think that its absence must be regretted and it can only be hoped that it will return within a few days, perhaps with a new proposal. At the very least, it strikes us as essential for the Americans to get back to the table.

In this agreement, the countries decided to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions by 5.2%, based on the 1990 level.

This is also an important agreement with respect to carbon sinks. We must recall that there were a number of debates at the international level on the effectiveness of these carbon sinks in reducing greenhouse gases. It was then agreed that countries could factor carbon sinks into their respective goals.

We think this is a step in the right direction but this mechanism within the Kyoto protocol must not be used—and this is obviously the risk—to prevent a real reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. We must instead use the Canadian forestry and planting capacity to absorb carbon gas.

In this regard, we hope that next week in Marrakesh the countries will reduce the contribution and the efforts that may be attributable to the contribution of carbon sinks within the goals.

We fundamentally believe that the contribution of carbon sinks within the goals should be limited to about 10% because we are concerned that Canada could use this mechanism provided for in the Kyoto protocol not to move toward a real reduction of greenhouse gases.

On April 4, 2001, the Prime Minister stated, with respect to carbon sinks, and I quote:

The sink is extremely important for Canada. Because we have a lot of land we could create a situation where a lot of CO2 could be absorbed if we had a good system of trees or plants in Canada.

My point is that I am not against including carbon sinks but I think we need to limit the percentage assigned to them in the objective set in Kyoto.

Another aspect included in the Bonn agreement is the commitment of countries to avoid using nuclear power. Having been at the other conferences between parties, particularly conferences 4 and 5, we know there was considerable debate. Is nuclear power a clean development tool or not? Yes, it may be clean in terms of climate change, but there are also environmental risks involved.

An important agreement came out of Bonn to the effect that the parties would refrain from using nuclear projects in development. In Marrakesh we must be ready and on the lookout. Discussions will focus on the legal wording of the Bonn agreement, which will be clarified next week.

We will have to make sure that refrain from really means ban. Experts have debated the matter and there will have to be legal recognition that refrain from, in the Bonn agreement, will be considered, in Marrakesh and in the COP7 agreement, to be a total ban on the use of nuclear power.

In broad terms, these aspects, including the mechanisms of interchangeable credits, were discussed. We hope that, in Marrakesh, the legal texts will reflect the agreement reached in Bonn. I must say it is an important agreement.

I prefer an agreement such as the Bonn one, which is not perfect but at least we have an agreement. Now we must ensure that one of the major producers of greenhouse gases over Canada, the United States, can come back to the discussion table and submit a proposal in keeping with the international commitment and consensus.

The other aspect that the motion submitted by my colleague from Red Deer deals with is responsibility. My colleague would like to see a new formula based on responsibility, and I totally agree with that. I think the provinces must be made accountable for the commitments made at the international level, in Kyoto or in Bonn. Of course we would like to see Quebec represented at this conference but we believe that the provinces must be held accountable. This is why Quebec has submitted an action plan.

We have subscribed to the Canadian action plan on climate change but we have gone even further. We have adopted an action plan.

I would like to say a few words on the scientific studies. The report by the intergovernmental panel on climate change stated clearly that there would be major impacts on the climate, but also on the reduction of the ice pack and snow cover. Scientific evidence has been collected on that subject by the United Nations international group of experts.

In conclusion, let us hope that next week the legal documents will be consistent with the historic Bonn agreement. We hope the Americans will come back to the negotiating table. We also hope we will not be renegotiating the Bonn agreement just to please the Americans. The future of our planet is too important. We must try to reach an agreement next week.

Climate ChangePrivate Members' Business

6:05 p.m.


Pat Martin NDP Winnipeg Centre, MB

Madam Speaker, I am happy to have the opportunity to enter into this important debate. On behalf of the NDP caucus I must speak against the motion although I understand that it is private member's business. The member for Red Deer has every right to put forward issues whether or not they are in keeping with his party's policy.

We find fault with the motion on a number of levels. First, it implies there is a need to revisit the issue based on sound science, as if the science by which we arrived at our current point of view or the existing international point of view is unsound.

We challenge that. The issue has been wrestled with by some of the finest minds of the world as long ago as 1993 when the government commissioned the climate change task forces and toured the country extensively.

I took part in those task forces in five major cities in Canada. Leading scientists on the issue from all over Canada were brought together for the task forces as well as a number of international guests. I was there to make a presentation on energy retrofitting of buildings. We were very well received.

Surely the hon. member cannot say there was not adequate consultation. The motion calls for a consultation process that is transparent, et cetera, and based on sound science. We believe the science was sound. Denying the effects of climate change at this juncture knowing what we know today is tantamount to believing the earth is flat. It is almost that drastic.

As was pointed out by my hon. colleague from the Bloc, the rest of the world is engaged in the issue. To stand in the House of Commons and table such a bill, even though during private members' business members have every right to debate any issue they see fit, is to show wilful blindness and a bias toward a point of view not backed up or substantiated by any sound science other than the economics of a certain geographical region.

I understand that quite well. I do not criticize the hon. member's wish to represent the region he comes from. I have worked on oil rigs all over Alberta and I know how important the industry is to the area the hon. member comes from.

We in the NDP speak against the motion for those reasons, but also because it fails to say anything positive about what could be done in terms of reducing greenhouse gas emissions, global warming or climate change.

What the hon. member fails to mention and deal with is that there are huge economic benefits in demand side management. There is more economic opportunity for the country in demand side management of our precious energy resources than in the production of energy resources.

I will point out one example in the area of energy retrofitting of buildings. I gave lectures on this subject to the climate change task forces. We received the industrial energy innovator award that year for the idea. I will work hon. members through the concept. I hope the member for Red Deer is listening.

A unit of energy harvested from the existing system by demand side measures, whether insulation, energy retrofitting, putting in smart thermostats or whatever the technical side of it may be, is almost indistinguishable from a unit of energy generated at a generating station. It is indistinguishable except for three things.

First, it is available at approximately one-quarter of the cost. In other words, it costs about one-quarter as much to take a unit of energy out of the existing system as it does to generate a new one.

Second, it is available and online immediately. At the same instant one conserves a unit of energy one owns it and can sell it to another customer or whatever.

Third, harvesting units of energy precludes the need for building more generating stations and borrowing the money to build multibillion dollar generating stations.

The fourth and most poignant point, given the subject of the debate today, is that harmful greenhouse gas emissions are reduced.

If we did embrace the idea of demand side management as a way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and save operating costs, let us look at the federal government as an example. The federal government owns 68,000 buildings in the country, many that waste energy because they were built in a period when, frankly, energy was not a real issue.

We could reduce our operating costs by as much as 40%, create a gazillion jobs, and reduce harmful greenhouse gas emissions by enormous amounts, again, as much as 40% in actual carbonate emissions, if we embrace this idea. It seems like an absolute natural.

It borders on the irresponsible in a motion dealing with greenhouse gas emissions and climate change to not at least recommend or put forward ideas that may bring Canada closer to that goal, unless one is in absolute denial, unless one completely denies that greenhouse gas emissions and climate change are problems.

As was pointed out, the rest of the world is engaged in the issue as we speak. Experts are in Marrakesh trying to move the world one step ahead from the meetings in Bonn in July 2000.

We are optimistic. We are hopeful that the world is finally reaching a consensus where it will start to reduce harmful greenhouse gas emissions and try to reverse the climate change that has been identified by world scientists as a legitimate hazard.

Today we heard today both sides of the argument, which is very healthy. I wish the member for Red Deer would give us the address of the 12 year old girl he wrote to giving one side of the opinion. Perhaps she is tuning into CPAC and will hear the contrary point of view as all of the other parties raise objections to the motion.

On the issue of science, the science is clear. Report after report has clearly identified a growing threat due to global warming. It poses a threat to life on the planet in regard to issues as varied as melting polar ice caps to flooding and increased forest fires. We know that over 2,800 economic experts, 8 of them Nobel prize laureates, signed statements in Canada and the U.S. pointing out the economic risks that will accompany climate change.

If the hon. member is worried about the economic side of the issue and if he is saying that meeting the Kyoto protocol is simply too costly, 2,800 economists would differ with him. They point out that in regard to the economic downside of not taking action, the risks associated with climate change, the cleanup of the devastation that would follow, the possibility of the whole prairie region changing from farmland to desert land with a change of a couple of more degrees on the planet, the costs far exceed any out of pocket costs in trying to meet conditions of the Kyoto protocol.

I am glad I have had this opportunity to put forward some proactive ideas instead of denying that climate change and global warming is an emergency for the planet. We believe there are proactive, creative steps that we, as a country that uses more energy per capita than any country in the world, could take to develop the technologies, reduce our own greenhouse gas emissions and then export those technologies to the rest of the world, to lead by example.

Climate ChangePrivate Members' Business

6:15 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

John Herron Progressive Conservative Fundy Royal, NB

Madam Speaker, thank you for the opportunity to participate in this evening's debate. I would like to compliment the member for Red Deer on his timeliness in having Motion No. 381 drawn this evening given the very fact that the international community will be convening in Marrakesh, Morocco, which will represent the 7th meeting of the conference of the parties with respect to the critical issue of climate change.

With respect to the motion, I would have to speak against the language because it does raise issues related to challenging whether the science is solid. The International Panel on Climate Change commissioned by the United Nations made it very clear that there is a discernible weight of evidence that human industrial action is altering the temperature and the climate of our world.

However, there were some aspects in terms of negotiation and consultation that I may want to speak to. The Alliance has always had a very mixed reputation on environmental issues. The member for Red Deer has actually been quite helpful in regard to the proposed species at risk act so far and I must say I have enjoyed working with him over the last few weeks.

Having said that, I must say that Reform categorically challenged the science on climate change. It was the only political party in the House of Commons at that time that had that position. To date, I have not read anything public to indicate that Alliance or Reform policy has changed in that regard.

I would like to speak about another political party on this issue as well. Perhaps the hallmark of the Liberal government has been its propensity to duck issues, to let issues drift, to avoid action. Nowhere is that more evident than in issues related to the environment. This is not only my opinion. It also happens to be the opinion of David Boyd, who is a senior associate in environmental law and policy at the University of Victoria. He states:

In two terms, the Liberals have yet to pass a single significant new piece of environmental legislation...Many green promises from the Liberal Red Books remain unfulfilled.

In contrast, I am a proud member of the Progressive Conservative Party of Canada which is now deemed to have had one of the most progressive environmental records between 1984 and 1993. Domestically, the PC government's initiatives included legislation controlling the use of toxins in our environment, known as the Canadian Environmental Protection Act. We had a $3 billion green plan targeted toward pollution prevention.

Internationally, Canada proved to be a genuine world leader then, as exhibited when Canada brought the world together in Montreal in 1987 and negotiated a protocol for the reduction of ozone depleting gases, known as the Montreal protocol.

Perhaps the greatest success of the PC government from a public policy perspective between 1984 and 1993, fiscally or environmentally, was that we were able to conclude an agreement with the United States of America that reduced sulphur dioxide emissions by over 50%, known as the acid rain agreement. As members know, that negotiation was not exactly simple. The Reagan administration initially challenged us on the science, on the causes of acid rain. Instead of mere rhetoric, the path that the Progressive Conservative Party chose was a path of leadership and a path of action. We painstakingly concluded bilateral agreements with the provinces to get them on board in terms that showed the federal government actually understood the ramifications for and needs of each provincial government.

We also chose to clean up our own act first. At that time European nations and Canada formed an informal alliance that was known as the 30% club whereby members committed to reduce sulphur dioxide omissions by 30%. The agreement was so successful that the Americans insisted on having observer status. The result was that by 1987 we had the Americans on board on acid rain and we had a protocol in place that reduced SO


emissions by over 50%.

To state the obvious, the Liberal government was ill prepared from the get-go in handling the Kyoto and climate change debate.

Most would agree that the current debate surrounding Kyoto and climate change is in fact more complex than the acid rain agreement. Nonetheless the parallels are stark. Right from the get-go the federal government blew any kind of consensus that it could have had with the provinces. On November 12, 1997, the provinces came together mere days before we went to Kyoto. I was in Kyoto when the agreement was signed and we entered into the beginning of that arrangement. However, in regard to the target that the federal government and provinces agreed to on November 12, the federal government said the next day that it might be our target.

The Progressive Conservative Party and I have maintained all along that getting into the debate of targets and timelines is not necessarily as helpful as what we should be doing, and that is taking action. We have lost four years. The Government of Canada has done nothing to speak of. Anyone watching CPAC at home now cannot quote a tangible example of what the government has done with respect to addressing climate change in any meaningful way. We have always maintained that the Government of Canada should adopt what we refer to as a no regrets strategy, things we should be doing anyway.

I have some suggestions for the government and will make them to the parliamentary secretary, who is listening intently to this debate. She should take them to the finance minister as well as we move into the debate on the budget. For example, there should be massive and aggressive tax incentives for renewable sources of energy and for investments in energy efficiency initiatives, not the paltry little tidbits that we were giving before. These would actually spur a particular industry. We could also foster the use of ethanol, not just from corn but also from agricultural plant waste, anything from corn husks to wood chips.

I hope the parliamentary secretary is pulling out her pen and paper at this very moment and writing a note to the Minister of Natural Resources and the Minister of the Environment to tell them to do that very task.

The Federation of Canadian Municipalities is indeed willing to engage and do its share but it is seeking leadership from the level of government at which it is required and that is the federal government.

The Government of Canada knew all along that the principal component of any climate change strategy would be to establish a tradable permit system. Again I will draw this to the attention of the parliamentary secretary, the member from Kitchener. Even if the Americans do not engage in the Kyoto process we should take the following step: We should engage the Americans in a tradable permit system within North America that would allow companies to buy and sell emissions beyond pre-set levels as a means of flexibility. This system is successful and it was how we were able to reduce sulphur dioxide emissions. It would also work for carbon dioxide. It is not a matter of us not knowing the rules and the arrangements and how it would work. We can begin the process instead of waiting for four years. That is the kind of initiative we should be bringing forth.

However, the federal government needs to provide leadership. The right hon. member for Calgary Centre has said that we need to convene a first ministers conference on this issue, after conducting some bilateral negotiations in the same way we did on acid rain. We need a no regrets strategy. We have wasted four years and we must ensure that we hit the ground running. I hope the Government of Canada adopts the positions that I have brought forth in the last 10 minutes.

Climate ChangePrivate Members' Business

6:25 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Bob Mills Canadian Alliance Red Deer, AB

Madam Speaker, it has been interesting to listen to the various comments. I want to make it very clear that I believe climate change is occurring and I believe the earth is round. I think the demand side is important. I have talked about the technology being important and about science being important. As I said, an hour and a half ago I visited an ethanol plant here in Ottawa. I saw that technology and what its future might be.

As well, I talked to some people in the transportation industry from Ballard Power this afternoon. Interestingly enough, while the first bus ran in Vancouver on a power cell, the second set ran in Chicago under Canadian control. The third set is in Los Angeles under U.S. control. They are now taking advantage of it and taking credit for it. That is the kind of thing that worries me.

Also the whole area of sinks is poorly understood and a lot of people would question the science. With respect to emissions trading, I do not think that is helping the air; it is just changing where we put the pollution. This is a most important issue.

The Kyoto protocol is terribly flawed and must be rejected. We must start over again, not stop, not deny that it is occurring, but do something better.

I have been an environmentalist for most of my life. I have worked as a conservation biologist and I have worked to educate people about energy efficiency and resource conservation.

Some might say that Kyoto is a good first step. I find that because Kyoto is the way it is, it is not a good first step. Good first steps in environmental policy are defined by getting the best bang for the buck. Kyoto does not come close to achieving this. It is not cost effective and the hard earned dollars of Canadians are being wasted.

It is an agreement that will achieve almost nothing for the environment while severely hurting Canada's economy. It also hurts Canada's ability to continue to be a healthy and secure place and the best place in the world to live.

If Kyoto is accepted, billions of dollars will be taken from health and environmental programs. Billions of dollars taken from the Canadian economy will lead to massive underemployment and even unemployment.

What will it achieve? By 2100 it will have achieved less than a .2 degree Celsius change in projected temperature increases, a redistribution of pollution to other parts of the world, increasing pollution from developing nations and little planning to effectively aid these nations to reduce their own growing air pollution. We must let them leapfrog from the 1950s into the 21st century.

As well, it does not build confidence in technology. I have just mentioned the example of Ballard. That is in California now. Canada has lost those buses.

We are presently in a vulnerable position. We are engaged in a war. We are tightening our borders. We are spending new money on security. We are in an economic slowdown. We agree that climate change is occurring, but are we truly willing to commit to an international agreement that achieves almost nothing environmentally and no doubt will lead us into a considerable economic recession if not a true depression?

We must move on now with meaningful words. We must come up with a new protocol that involves all countries, that is realistic, is based on solid science and has realistic goals that all countries can achieve.

Climate ChangePrivate Members' Business

6:25 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Ms. Bakopanos)

The time provided for the consideration of private members' business has now expired.

As the motion has not been designated as a votable item, the order is dropped from the order paper.

It being 6.30 p.m., this House stands adjourned until tomorrow at 10 a.m., pursuant to Standing Order 24(1).

(The House adjourned at 6.30 p.m.)