Madam Speaker, it is my honour today to speak to our supply day motion on the Kyoto accord. The motion states:
That, before the Kyoto Protocol is ratified by the House, there should be an implementation plan that Canadians understand, that sets out the benefits, how the targets are to be reached and its costs.
In my speech I want to analyze this accord and break it down as to what it is exactly. We hear a lot of passionate dialogue from both sides, but it is incumbent upon us as parliamentarians to truly do some thinking and break down the accord.
What exactly is the Kyoto accord and why was it signed? The Kyoto accord was an agreement designed and negotiated in 1997. It was designed to force certain nations to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. By signing the agreement Canada committed to reducing its greenhouse gas emissions to 6% below 1990 levels. The motivation for the accord is that many scientists believe that greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide, caused by human activity, are at least partly responsible for climate change and global warming in ways harmful to humans on a global scale.
We should distinguish always between global warming and climate change. We must however recognize that there are differences in the scientific community about whether global warming is taking place. We must recognize that there are further differences within the community as to the causes of that warming, how much is due to human activity, and we must recognize that there are differences as to the affects of that warming on our climate.
I am not a scientist and not qualified to distinguish between which climatologist is right on which side. It is something that speaks to the fact that we should institute a parliamentary office of science and technology that reports to Parliament to help us in these matters.
It is essential for us to recognize, and I am glad one of the hon. members on the other side recognized it, that there is not a scientific consensus on these issues and we cannot pretend it is science on one side and one premier on the other. It is foolish and wrong to do that.
If we want to examine the accord itself we should recognize the accord was signed by industrialized nations. In order for Kyoto to have a status of international law a minimum of 55 developed countries representing 55 emissions from industrialized nations must ratify the accord. It is important to keep in mind that so-called developing nations like China and India, who produce approximately 45% of man-made greenhouse gases, are exempt from Kyoto. There are no limits in this accord on the amount of CO
they can produce.
If we look at who has ratified it, it is the European Union. If we look at the amounts it has to reduce by, it is certainly not as much as Canada and the fact is that its growth and population rate is stagnant. Those are factors we must consider when we look at this.
If we look at who has not ratified Kyoto, but who initially did sign on, there are two examples. Both the United States and Australia have refused to sign the accord. The result of their decisions is that the accord must be ratified by both Russia and Canada in order for it to take affect. Russia has postponed its decision on ratification until next year.
It is important for us to explain to people that if Russia does not sign, the accord will fail regardless of what Canada does, but if Russia does sign then obviously Canada's 2% will be required to meet that 55% hurdle.
It is interesting to hear some members on the government side talk about President Bush and his motivation for not ratifying the accord. The fact of the matter is that it was debated and discussed before a U.S. senate hearing, a hearing unlike in Canada, where witnesses had to take an oath before the hearing. At the end of those hearings the senate voted on the issue. The senate vote was 95 to 0 against.
For people to say that it is President Bush and his ties to the oil industry is factually incorrect. Why would people like Ted Kennedy, a strong environmentalist, vote against this accord in the senate? It is because of the evidence presented before the committee. We should keep that in mind and not simply say it was because of one certain person's ties to a certain industry.
We should keep in mind why Australia, which as my previous colleague pointed out, negotiated an increase in emissions over 1990 levels. Prime Minister John Howard said:
The reason it is not in Australia's interests to ratify the Kyoto Protocol is that because the arrangements are currently, and are likely under present settings to continue to exclude both developing countries and the United States, for us to ratify the protocol would cost us jobs and damage our industry. That is why the Australian government will continue to oppose ratification.
Even more important than the question of who has or who has not ratified the accord is by how much do other nations have to reduce their emissions? During the negotiations in 1997 the European Union and Russia already knew that they were in a position to meet their emission targets that they were signing off on. Further more, nations such as China, India, Brazil and Mexico were not even covered by this stage of the Kyoto accord and were not obliged to make any reductions in their greenhouse gas emissions.
Therefore, given these factors, will Kyoto result in a reduction of greenhouse gas emissions? According to one United Nations estimate even full compliance with the Kyoto accord will only slow the increase of greenhouse gases and worldwide production will still be 30% higher in 2012 than it was in 1990. Again, this is another fact that must be put on the table.
How does the accord apply specifically to Canada? Canada is responsible for 2.2% of the world's emissions, admittedly one of the bigger emitters proportionately. There are certain factors which make this so: a growing population, a cold climate, a large geographic land mass and a resource based economy. We must reduce our greenhouse gas emissions to 6% below 1990 levels, but that means, depending on whose figures we trust, 23% to 30% below present day or 2012 levels.
How will we achieve these targets? That is what the motion is about today. That is what is so disappointing about the document that was hastily produced this morning. There is still no implementation plan nor cost analysis. Even the government's own suggestions as to what it would do from a public policy standpoint does not include the costs attached to that. How can we as parliamentarians or Canadians expect to either ratify or not ratify the accord when the government is not even providing those costs?
Other colleagues have talked about the emissions credits. The Minister of the Environment has said that we should receive credits toward our Kyoto reduction targets by exporting clean energy, such as natural gas and hydroelectric power, to the United States. This notion has been rejected twice by the Europeans and they show no sign of wanting to reopen or negotiate this section of the agreement.
The Prime Minister has stated publicly that we can be flexible in meeting our targets because we have until 2012 to meet our obligations. That is frankly not true. Article 3 of the accord states that the overall emissions of greenhouse gases must be, in Canada's case, 6% below 1990 levels as an average between 2008 and 2012. We do not have until 2012 to develop an implementation plan. Even further each nation must have made demonstrable progress on commitments by 2005 which is coming upon us very quickly.
What are the costs of implementing Kyoto? The estimates vary widely. The Alberta government estimates over $33 billion each year. The federal government did estimate $16.5 billion and 200,000 lost jobs. However there are even fights within the government departments themselves, between environment and natural resources, over the figures. The Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters have estimated at least 450,000 jobs lost in the manufacturing sector alone.
There is another cost that I want to raise which may be a greater cost as it pertains to lost investment and opportunities because of the uncertainty caused by the lack of a plan by the federal government to implement this accord. When businesses and investors do not know how the accord will affect them, it creates uncertainty and they withdraw their funds.
We have the Minister of Natural Resources stating publicly that we will get credit for clean energy exports. This has been denied twice. We have the Prime Minister stating that we have time to be flexible when we do not. This is unsettling to investors and entrepreneurs.
That is why the Canadian Alliance opposes this accord. That is why we are proposing the motion today which states that we must have these full costs known before we have a vote on ratification.
It is incumbent upon us to be clear on why we oppose Kyoto. We oppose it because our major trading partners, such as the U.S. and Mexico, will not be subject to the accord. If Kyoto were ratified, Canada would be the only industrialized nation in the western hemisphere to have to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions to any great extent. We oppose it because major emitters, like China and India, will not have to reduce their carbon dioxide emissions at all. In fact, they can increase them and there are no restrictions on them at all.
There is no credible plan by the federal government on how to implement this. Last, it is very questionable and we believe this accord does not really address preserving our environment because it is not an environmental accord. It is incumbent upon us as the opposition to not just have a debate between Kyoto and no Kyoto--