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House of Commons Hansard #40 of the 37th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was firearms.

Topics

Kyoto ProtocolGovernment Orders

2:05 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Gerry Ritz Canadian Alliance Battlefords—Lloydminster, SK

Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure to stand today and speak to the Kyoto protocol, which will be rammed through this place. Closure has been tabled so we know that Monday will be our last day to work with this. I will be splitting my time with my colleague from Lakeland.

A lot of folks out there have the mistaken idea that Kyoto will somehow limit the smog days and will magically cure asthma for their kids, and so on. That is far from the truth. Kyoto has very little to do with what we know as pollution. The target is 240 megatonnes, that is 240 million tonnes of CO

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less than what we are producing now. There is a lot of speculation out there as to what that will do and what that will cost us as an economic country.

It all came about based upon the Rio summit in 1992 and moving on to the 1997 meeting in Kyoto, Japan, hence the name. Before that meeting in Japan, the federal government, in its wisdom, did not consult with the provincial governments nor the people of this country. It was going to sign on to an international agreement but we did not know what it was buying into. We did not know what we were committing ourselves to over the next 20, 30 or 40 years. No one really knew.

The provincial ministers had a meeting in Regina, Saskatchewan, my home province. They came up with what they felt they could handle and they presented that to the federal government. The problem was that when the federal group changed planes in Vancouver I guess they left it in the airport, because they did not honour the agreement that the premiers had put forward in Regina. They went over to Japan and proceeded to outbid the Americans. Their attitude was that whatever the Americans could do, we could do better.

The government has us in a situation where it has signed us on to a reduction from 1990 levels, that is 12 years ago, of 6% below what we were producing at that point. That will make a change of about 30% of what we are at today.

In the big argument of whether that is valid or not, the problem is, is there an agreement that CO

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is really the culprit? Is that what we need to go after? Is there really a greenhouse situation happening around the world? There are scientists on both sides of that argument and both sides have valid points, so we do not have sound consensus that this is really going on.

One of the major players in the environmental movement, a fellow named Bjorn Lomberg from Denmark, has switched sides. He is saying that there is no conclusive evidence. As an economist he cannot rationalize why a country like Canada would commit to this sort of an anchor to drag along against the rest of the industrialized countries that are our trading partners.

The Americans, the Australians and over 100 countries went to the meeting in Kyoto. It came down to Canada and Russia having to sign on to get the prerequisite 55 to make this thing fly. The Russians are waiting to see if Canada signs on, and then they will because they know we have to send them huge gobs of cash in order to make our commitments. It makes no sense at all to me that we can literally pass the buck. It is a get out of jail free card. We will send money to Russia because its emissions are down. Because it closed a lot of factories as the Russian economy hit the skids, it says that it has already met its requirements. It negotiated on that. Now the British are saying that they have changed all their factories from coal to gas so they have met their requirements.

The Australians went to the Kyoto meeting and negotiated an 8% increase, not a decrease. Since then they have backed off because their scientists are saying that this is a hoax. They are saying that the 1.4° variance that we have seen cured the ozone problem that we had. It was actually the extra heat that dissipated that hole and turned it into a myriad of little holes that are not a problem any more. They are saying that this is not the right way to go.

Canada produces 2% of the global emissions. That is within the margin of error so we may not be promoting that problem at all. There is just no sound science for us to do this. It is all about the Prime Minister making commitments in Kyoto and again in South Africa a few months ago, saying that he would ram this through by the end of the year.

We have dragged our feet for five years. If there really is a problem here and a culprit that we need to go after, why did we wait five years? In that five years the government has not discussed it with anybody.

The minister stood here today and said, “We have this little book. Read it. Understand it. The numbers are all in there”. The only numbers I can find are the page numbers. There is nothing in here that tells us what this will cost. They have some wish lists here. They are talking about disposable income per household and they have it pegged at $68,000.

I represent a lot of farmers who do not make 10% of that amount and this will really hit them hard.

No studies have been done on the industrial impacts. The federal chamber of commerce has come out against this. It can see the downside of this but nobody has softened its fears that it will hurt the business community. We know it will, and especially in my area of western Canada. We drill for and pump out the natural gas that goes to the United States to make it greener, which is good for us and good for it, but we do not get credit for doing that in the Kyoto agreement because the United States is not a Kyoto signatory.

We also in Saskatchewan mine some of the highest grade uranium which is turned into fuel rods so that France can make its Kyoto targets with its nuclear energy. We get hit with the cost of the mining and the environmental damage that goes with it but we do not get credit for helping France meet its targets. Those are the negotiations that should have gone on. Where are the credits for what we actually do to help the global community do a better job?

The last member talked about the third world countries looking for leadership. Certainly they are, but they are more concerned about having a full belly at night than they are about the flare on that natural gas well. Let us get our priorities straight. Certainly we have to look after the environment, but their priority is eating and surviving to the next day as much as it is worrying about environmental pollution. That is unfortunate.

Certainly there is a leadership role for Canada to play, but not at any cost, which is what we are seeing here.

The government talks about the 2,000 UN scientists who promoted this and said that it was great. They did some good work. They came up with a variance in temperature of 1.4°C. That has happened over the last million years. We can trace it up and down.

The political spin was not good enough so the bureaucrats and the politicians said that it had to be higher than that or people would not take notice. What does the number in the book say? It says that it could be as high as 5.8°C. It could be but there is no science that supports that assertion, none at all.

Since that time we have had 19,000 worldwide scientific community members sign on to what is called the Oregon petition, which is what turned the United States around from signing on. It said that there was no sound science, that there was nothing to say that this was for real, and that this has not gone on and on.

There are just too many things that drive us in the opposition to say that we had better have a look at this. If we buy into this it will hurt the third world. If Canada's economy takes the hit that we think it will take or even half the hits that the industry groups, the chamber of commerce, the CFIB and the manufacturers' association are talking about, we can no longer afford the half billion dollar Africa plan that the Prime Minister wants. We will not be economically sustainable any more. We will be scratching to feed our own folks, let alone help out the third world. This could be a detriment if we were to really think about it in that vein.

The government talks about building all our homes to R-2000 value. In my former life in agriculture I did a lot of construction to pay for that farming habit. We built to R-2000 standards in 1980. We have gone way beyond that. R-2000 calls for R-12 insulation and double glazed windows. We left that behind two decades ago. That is what is in this book. That is how out of date this is.

The government talks about a CO

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pipeline. From where to where? What are we going to do with it? Alberta is already capturing CO

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at wellheads, pumping it back into coal beds to extract the methane to get a good clean burning fuel. Alberta is already doing that.

I just visited southern Ontario. Greenhouses there have a cylinder of CO

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when they are getting their seedlings started and they crack it because it is fertilizer for plants.

North America already is the largest CO

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filter in the world. If we look at the slip stream coming in west to east and measure the CO

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amounts on the west coast and measure them as they go out the east coast, we have been a significant filter because of our agricultural productions and our reforestation. We are already doing our part.

It just boggles my mind that we would forge ahead with this when no impact assessments have been done. Just in the last couple of days we have seen with the firearms registry what happens when there is not consultation with the provinces and the affected groups. We get money thrown out the window trying to bury a problem. Kyoto is another example along that line of what will to happen. There is no plan, only we are talking tens of billions of dollars, not just one billion.

In wrapping up, there is no way that we can pass the buck on this. Certainly Canada has a leadership role to play, but when we are the only industrialized nation in the western hemisphere to sign on to this, it is doomed to fail.

The former natural resources minister, the member for Wascana, said, “If our American trading partners do not sign on to this, we shouldn't either because we are under the same umbrella of air”. What happened to that logic? That is the first thing I have heard from that side that made any sense and it has now been forgotten.

This argument is going to go on. It is all about a legacy for the Prime Minister but I put it before members today that it is more about lunacy in our actions here.

Kyoto ProtocolGovernment Orders

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

John Bryden Liberal Ancaster—Dundas—Flamborough—Aldershot, ON

Mr. Speaker, I would just observe, it is not about legacy for the Prime Minister. It is about legacy for future generations on the planet. The member opposite made reference to the flares and that people could tolerate the flares in the third world, that is the flares burning off natural gas into the atmosphere, in those countries where these flares occur because this is a way of keeping food on the table.

I would point out to the member opposite that these flares are the result of international oil consortiums drilling for oil and burning the gas off with the agreement of the countries in whose territories they are operating. These are governments that have made these decisions, the government of Saudi Arabia and the government of Nigeria. These are the countries that somehow the developed world has to persuade to find that they would take other solutions that gain less for them in the short run and provide more for all of us in the long run. In other words, this is really not about carbon dioxide.

I could concede many of the things the speaker opposite says but the reality is that this is all about Canada showing the leadership because our ally to the south, who should have been in this place on this issue, has not showed the leadership.

Kyoto ProtocolGovernment Orders

2:15 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Gerry Ritz Canadian Alliance Battlefords—Lloydminster, SK

Mr. Speaker, I guess it comes down to what can we enforce on other countries if it is government to government? Certainly we can show leadership. The Americans have not backed away from the thrust of what Kyoto is all about. They have set their own targets. They are doing a made in U.S.A. plan that targets 18%, virtually what they had agree to in Kyoto. We could do the same thing, and I do not disagree with that, but let us have something that is Canada friendly, that is taxpayer friendly and that at the end of the day we have results we can measure.

The problem with Kyoto is that we have six billion people living on the planet. One billion out of six billion are under the Kyoto protocol. It is doomed to fail. I talked about us being the only industrialized country in the western hemisphere that is hamstrung with a deal that will limit us. We will have jobs and industry leave to Kyoto friendly climates. Rightly or wrongly they are going to do that. They will take the path of least resistance.

I watched a documentary the other night. There are 100 manufacturing companies in southern Ontario that are now setting up businesses, counterparts, in China. There are several reasons they are doing that. There is a large, cheap workforce. They need the products they develop right there so they get close to the market but it is also not covered by Kyoto. They can do what they need to do to make a buck at the end of the day and create those jobs.

In my mind Kyoto is totally the wrong target. We spend all of the time, energy and money chasing the rainbow of CO

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, the nasty thing it is, and we forget about the 1,200 toxic sites that the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency has outlined for us. It catalogued them, including the Sydney tar ponds. We spent $60 million studying that green guck out there and have not come up with a solution.

We are targeting Kyoto. We have a straw man who we are chasing, just like gun control. We are chasing guns instead of the bad guys. Here we are chasing CO

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instead of the really noxious stuff that we need to so that we have a healthy climate and so that we have an economy that can afford to do some handouts for the third world and show some leadership in whatever area they want us to lead.

Kyoto ProtocolGovernment Orders

2:20 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Ken Epp Canadian Alliance Elk Island, AB

Mr. Speaker, the other night just for my recreational relaxed reading before I went to bed, I was looking over the Kyoto accord to see what it actually said.

One thing rather amazed me, and I am surprised that the Liberals have not glommed onto it. There is an international committee that is set up and it is in its sole discretion going to determine whether a country has been meeting its targets. That means an international organization has the right to tax us. We totally lose our Canadian sovereignty in that particular case. Does the member have a comment on that aspect of Kyoto?

Kyoto ProtocolGovernment Orders

2:20 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Gerry Ritz Canadian Alliance Battlefords—Lloydminster, SK

Mr. Speaker, that is an excellent point. We rail in this place about our sovereignty and how we need to be in charge of our own destiny, yet we sign it away in a situation like this where we cannot begin to maintain it.

I know the Deputy Prime Minister said that we would ratify it and just never do it but that damages the leadership capability of the country in the rest of the world. We would be a welsher. We cannot do that. If we decide we are going to go on something like this we had better damned well be there. We cannot turn our back on it, make this thing happen, foist it on other countries and then not implement it. God help us if we do.

The biggest problem we will have is ratifying it. The penalties include another 30% in emissions tacked on and no more emissions trading credits. Again we are hamstrung.

Kyoto ProtocolGovernment Orders

2:20 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Leon Benoit Canadian Alliance Lakeland, AB

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise and speak on the Kyoto accord today. The ratification of Kyoto is an extremely important issue. However in listening to the speeches over the past few days, a lot of what has been said has really nothing to do with the Kyoto protocol.

Many members referred to saving the planet. Any of us who have seen an environmental problem which is a threat to the planet obviously would do anything at any cost to save the planet. However, that is not what this is about. Today in the 10 minutes that I have I will to try to explain what Kyoto is about, what it would do in dealing with any real pollution problems and briefly what the economic impacts could be. I think those are the things Canadians want to know about.

First, Kyoto targets only carbon dioxide and to a much lesser extent methane and nitrous oxide. Combining these with water vapour creates the greenhouse gases that help control the temperature to some extent on the earth's surface. Kyoto is talking about those are the greenhouse gases.

Second, clearly carbon dioxide is not a pollutant. Plants depend on carbon dioxide to grow. If we wish to grow plants for food, they need carbon dioxide. To raise our animals we need plants that use carbon dioxide to grow. Clearly CO

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is not a pollutant and it should not be referred to as that.

Some government members have said that by controlling CO

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we are also controlling some real pollutants. These members acknowledge that CO

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is not a pollutant. They say that if we are controlling CO

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because of the basket of pollutants that is released, CO

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being part of other substances being released and are real pollutants, then the Kyoto protocol, if implemented, would help deal with real pollutants.

If those real pollutants are what the government is concerned about, then why do we not put in place a policy that deals with them directly and not just as some ancillary or auxiliary part of an agreement? This has nothing to do with the Kyoto protocol. Why not focus on real pollution.

I will argue and make the point that if Kyoto is implemented, it will lead to greater pollution of the planet.

First, with the U.S. out of the agreement, pollution in greenhouse gas emissions would actually rise if Canada were to implement the treaty. Many energy intensive operations in the United States use a far higher percentage of electricity generated from relatively high polluting, coal fired stations than is the case here in Canada.

Second, if we are to ratify Kyoto, when the United States has said it will not, we will be exporting industry and jobs to the United States, where the U.S. will be using coal which will pollute our atmosphere in a very real way. Therefore Kyoto will actually lead to an increase in pollution.

What is worse, many industries will move their operations away from Canada to developing countries which have little or no control over serious pollutants which threaten human health and the national environment. Countries such as China, India, Brazil are exempt from emissions controls. In fact, nations exempt from Kyoto's provisions or are not ratifying it produce 80% of the emissions of greenhouse gases and a much higher portion of actual pollutants as well. If we are to export industry from Canada to these developing nations, we are in fact leading to the pollution of this planet, not the opposite.

Third, there is a real concern that the actions necessary to implement radical carbon dioxide reductions would result in technological switching to emissions with higher pollution. Therefore, if we were to implement this agreement, we are in fact increasing the pollution of the planet.

Fourth, economists say that Kyoto could lead to a recession in Canada and, as with every recession in any developed country, this recession would lead to a reduction in existing environmental programs. Clearly the money would not there in the economy to pay the taxes which would be used on dealing with genuine environmental problems.

The implementation of Kyoto in Canada will lead to higher pollution of the planet. The debate I have heard on this issue ignores these clearly fundamental points which have to be made.

All of this is being talked about because of what I would call bad science. There is only a small fraction of climate scientists who are prepared to commit themselves to the idea that humans are causing significant climate change. Many eminent scientists, including meteorologists who study weather patterns, claim that any warming we are experiencing falls well within cyclical norms. This is something the government does not often talk about, but it is a reality.

From looking at glacial ice cores they have found that what is happening right now with CO

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levels falls within norms that have been reached over the past few hundred thousand years. They have also found that the CO

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levels now are not as high as they have been at times over the past few hundred thousand years.

To my knowledge, unless there was a human race before us that I do not know about, man was not involved in raising those CO

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levels a few hundred thousand years ago, yet the CO

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levels were higher then than they are now.

This whole debate on the Kyoto issue is taking place due to bad science. There are a lot of other examples and quotes from people such as Dr. Madhav Khandekar, a former Environment Canada scientist, who has said the same type of thing. The environment minister, the Prime Minister and other people who claim that the blizzards, droughts and all those things somehow come from an increase in greenhouse gases, I believe, are being fundamentally dishonest with Canadians.

Scientists argue that is not the case. I do not think it is healthy for debate when people in the government make radical, extreme statements like that because factually speaking, it is simply not the truth. How can ministers, people who are supposed to be responsible, make those kinds of claims? I would argue they cannot, in good judgment.

I stress that if implemented, Kyoto will damage our environment further and that this whole thing is based on bad science. I want to take a couple of minutes to talk about what the fallout of implementation of Kyoto could mean.

Many people back home say Kyoto is just another national energy program, which damaged Alberta in a way that very few Canadians understand. My brother lost a rapidly developing business directly as a result of the national energy program. Family members lost jobs as a result of the implementation of the national energy program. It hurt Alberta, and Saskatchewan to some extent, in a way that is hard for anyone else to understand.

Is Kyoto like the national energy program? No, it is different. Although it will hurt Alberta more than any other province, it will hurt every single Canadian across the country. That is what makes it different from the national energy program.

We can look at how it will hurt. According to experts, the cost of the average home may increase by $30,000. That is the figure being used. Every individual, including those on fixed incomes, may see their electricity bill increase 100%. The cost of fuel at the pumps over the next few years probably will double according to many of the experts. Other costs that people have every single day just to survive will increase dramatically due to the implementation of Kyoto.

All that, combined with the reality that Kyoto will make pollution worse and not better, and that it is based on very doubtful science at the best, should lead us to not support the government when it pushes ratification of Kyoto through next week.

Kyoto ProtocolGovernment Orders

2:30 p.m.

The Deputy Speaker

It being 2:30 p.m., the House stands adjourned until Monday next at 11 a.m. pursuant to Standing Order 24(1).

(The House adjourned at 2.30 p.m.)