Mr. Speaker, we are continuing to talk about Kyoto tonight. We are expelling a lot of air in this green House of Commons talking about greenhouse gases and that is a nice analogy.
In doing some reading in preparation for speaking tonight, I came across an article about the French academy of science in the 18th century taking the position that meteorites did not exist. People had reported that rocks were falling from the sky and landing in their fields. Rural folk believed they were supernatural omens. Scholars at the French academy thought this was so absurd that they dismissed the whole phenomenon out of hand.
For nearly a century they blocked scientific discussion on the matter. They exerted such intimidating peer pressure that museums and laboratories throughout Europe quietly began to discard their meteorite collections lest the great men in Paris think they were backward. Thomas Jefferson joined in the scoffing, accusing two U.S. scientists of being liars for proposing the idea. In effect there was a consensus of the world's top scientists that meteorites did not exist. Then one day in April 1803 a meteorite fell in Normandy near a gathering of French scientists and attitudes suddenly began to change.
I find that story entertaining, interesting and something to which we should pay some attention. There is certainly a very overwhelming sense that we have put ourselves on a track, signed a political agreement, and not looked very closely at where we are going.
That same author, Ross McKitrick, said that bureaucracy and politics can sometimes overtake science, creating false notions of consensus while sabotaging the very mechanisms able to test those beliefs. He said that there is no sure way to prevent this from happening but we should be very alert to the possibility.
Mr. McKitrick also talked about how this logic could very much relate to the whole question of global warming. Some of the warning bells in some of the documents that have been produced so far portray consensus where in actual fact scientific consensus does not exist. I wanted to put that on the table.
Earlier this evening the Liberal member for St. Paul's said that as far she was concerned global warming is a given. Let us assume just for the sake of debate that the member for St. Paul's is correct. I would firmly argue that Kyoto is not the vehicle that will overcome the problems identified, assuming that the hypothesis is correct.
Why is our neighbour to the south miles ahead of us in reducing greenhouse gas emissions? We are going to put all of our eggs in the Kyoto basket. The Americans are saying they are going to take action right now and they have been doing it.
My questions are these. Why is our government not creating incentives now? Why has it done virtually nothing when our neighbours have not only done much at the federal and state levels, but are miles ahead of us. They have removed any uncertainty so that the people whom they are asking to invest in new technology and so on do not have to worry about some unknown set of ramifications from some international agreement that might come down upon them and create uncertainty as to how they operate.
The hon. member for St. Paul's also made the statement that the whole world has decided that we will get on with this. I am sorry but that defies the facts. The fact is that 65% of emissions in the world occur in countries that will not ratify Kyoto or are exempted from any meaningful kind of target.
It is very predictable that the trading scheme envisioned by the government will simply shift jobs, activity and the production of CO
emissions outside of Canada. It is predictable, if not certain, that global emissions will end up rising because of the structure of the Kyoto accord. They will not end up rising as a consequence of what our neighbours to the south have done. They are doing theirs nationally, within house, in the largest economy in the world and some of their results are nothing less than amazing.
I want to bring a couple of other things to the table about which I do not believe others have talked.
When we talk about the science, we want to keep our eyes open for any new or significant developments. Potentially it is highly significant that we had a massive controlled experiment with our atmosphere after September 11, 2001.
The air traffic basically came to a halt over a good part of the globe and certainly over North America. Scientists looked at the climate during those few days and noticed some very interesting things. We started to exhibit diurnal or daily temperature fluctuations within a 24 hour period that resembled what used to happen prior to the expansion of air travel over the last 30, 40 or 50 years.
The odd time when a few airplanes flew in formation, say fighter planes, they could see very clearly what happened to the vapour trails. Those vapour trails could basically occupy the entire huge span of the atmosphere in the skyline in a very short period of time.
The hypothesis then is that aircraft travel is having a tremendous impact on injecting major greenhouse gases. Of the greenhouse gases, 97% volume is water vapour. That water vapour is being injected at high altitude and potentially has way more impact than great amounts of ground level emissions of water vapour and carbon dioxide, the other most significant greenhouse gas.
I believe a lot more work will come out of that development, and we have only become aware of that.
If we were to go the way the U.S. has gone and decide that rather than getting into a political document, such as the Kyoto protocol, that we would come up with a Canada solution, we would do ourselves a huge favour.
Many industries have made dramatic changes since 1990, driven by fuel efficiency and other rationales, not necessarily related to concerns about CO
emissions. The major concern those industries have right now is that it appears the federal government, the Liberal administration, does not want to give them credit for all those advances. Right now, if companies were looking at investing in further reductions, there would be a tendency to hold off until there was some certainty whether they would get credit for it now or after.
Those kinds of decisions are being impacted by what the government is doing now. It is very bad for our economy, job creation, investment and on other concerns the business community has.
By signing on to the Kyoto protocol we are avoiding what is the most common sense approach, which is to reduce emissions according to incentives, which we can put in place. Instead we are going with pure politics and environmental optics.
I always say if we have a choice between an incentive and a hammer, we are is much better off to go with the incentive because the hammer will in the long run not work.
This has major implications for international trade. This is becoming a trade document in a sense. I would like to know why we have not heard from the Minister for International Trade. Canada is one of the three NAFTA partners. We have our free trade agreements with Costa Rica for example. We are negotiating the free trade area of the Americas. We will be the only jurisdiction, in all those trading agreements, subject to the Kyoto accord. There are penalties that go with that accord which affect our trading ability and our trading relationships.
The European Union is threatening to go to the World Trade Organization because of the trade advantage the U.S. will have by not signing on to Kyoto. The flip side of that is that people who do sign on are at some trade disadvantage. That is the way I read it before I knew what the EU was thinking.
Countries like Australia, the U.S. and others have made the firm decision that they will not ratify the Kyoto protocol. They have determined that it is a political document, that it will not benefit the environment and that they have a better way to go. I am convinced that they are correct.
I have some knowledge on alternate fuels. It is very interesting that diesel fuel has been known over time as a pretty significant polluter. The U.S. military was running 20% soy in its diesel for about seven years. It did not bother to tell anyone because it was doing it for strategic reasons. However it has a very significant impact on CO
emissions. For every 10% of soy that it was running in its diesel, it was reducing CO
emissions by 9%. It was running B-20, which is 20% bio or soy in the diesel. At that percentage it has the same operating parameters, the same temperature and other operating characteristics as regular diesel.
Brampton and GTA generating stations are operating with bio-diesel. This all happened this year. Did it happen because of the government or any incentive that the government put in place? No. It happened because an entrepreneur came on the scene, saw an opportunity, had an interest in the environment and made this happen. Canadian Tire will be in the bio-diesel pumping business as well.
This adds on a bit to what the previous speaker talked about. There are tremendous opportunities at higher temperatures, summer range temperatures. We could be running possibly B-60, B-80 and possibly even B-100, 100% bio without any petroleum diesel.
The U.S. has done a lot on this front. I will quote some of the moves it has made. In January the U.S. put in some new environmental protection act requirements. These new rules allowed fleets to use bio-diesel to fulfill up to half of their alternate fuel diesel purchase requirements.
The U.S. is setting standards and regulations for alternate fuel for federal and state fleets, which is having a tremendous impact. The U.S. is looking at the fact that it will be doing a huge favour for its agricultural community because it will not have to subsidize the growing of the bio part of the diesel.
I will read one little paragraph and then I will be done. It states:
The federal Energy Policy Act requires 75 percent of all new state and federal vehicles to be fitted for alternative fuels by the year 2001. If all U.S. city buses used bio-diesel, it would require the oil from 43 million bushels of soybeans annually. There are enough niche markets for bio-diesel to make profits for the nation’s 400,000 soybean growers.
We saved the prairies in Canada once with canola. Canola has all of the same characteristics as soy. There is a tremendous opportunity to be exploited here, and this is only one example of many. I had more things I could certainly talk about.
Those are the kind of things that will move Canada in a direction, not the boy scout approach we have taken to the Kyoto protocol, which is a political document, and is the very reason that the country most like Canada, Australia, rejected the Kyoto protocol.