Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise on behalf of the constituents of Surrey Central to participate in the debate on the motion to ratify the Kyoto protocol.
What does protecting the environment mean? It means clean air to breathe, clean water to drink, clean food to eat, clean surroundings to live in. It means pollution or contamination free, pesticide or chemical free surroundings, no smog, no acid rain. It means protecting our forests, endangered species and natural resources.
The Kyoto accord will not do any of these things. Carbon dioxide is a naturally occurring substance that is essential to plants and animals. Kyoto restricts carbon dioxide emissions, not the air pollution that causes smog or acid rain, et cetera. The Kyoto accord does not deal with environmental contamination or controlling air pollution.
Greenhouse gasses, which include carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide and sulphur dioxide, et cetera, comprise less than 1% of the air. Water vapour, comprising 99% of greenhouses gases in the atmosphere, provides most of the greenhouse gas effect.
So far science on the causes of global warming is not conclusive. Global warming is a natural phenomenon that has been happening for millions of years. There are other factors at play that account for global warming and need to be addressed.
The Kyoto accord does not require Canada to actually make carbon dioxide reductions. Therefore, being opposed to Kyoto is not the equivalent of being opposed to all efforts to curb climate change. It is opposing a wrong political decision with a wrong approach to dealing with a serious problem without properly consulting and evaluating the repercussions and impact on Canadians and on the environment.
Funding Kyoto would drain billions of dollars, and some from developing countries, away from worthwhile environmental concerns. The Kyoto accord will not cover countries producing two-thirds of man-made carbon dioxide emissions.
More than 160 countries are signatories to the protocol but imposes emission limits on just 38 countries. Countries such as India, China and Indonesia have signed on but they do not have to talk about reducing emissions until after 2012. Of the 38 countries, 13 have been deemed economies in transition and are essentially exempted from any deadlines for meeting targets.
The fifteen countries that are members of the European community are likely to meet their targets through creative accounting. Six nations are extremely small and have equally tiny targets. That leaves just four countries; the United States, Australia, Japan and Canada.
However, the United States and Australia have already decided not to ratify. China and India each spew as much carbon dioxide into the atmosphere every day as does Canada in an entire year.
The Kyoto accord cannot come into force unless 55 countries that collectively produce 55% of the developed world's carbon dioxide emissions ratify it. The U.S. abandonment of the treaty makes the backing of other signatories critical to the agreement's survival.
Countries that have refused to ratify are not required to reduce emissions in phase 1 of the Kyoto protocol.
The vast majority, 95% of the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, is naturally occurring. Of the 5% that is man made, two-thirds is produced in countries not ratifying Kyoto or are exempt from its targets. There are no real penalties for those countries in the Kyoto treaty. Countries that do not meet their targets have their overruns added to the next target like the interest on credit cards.
Canada accounts for only 2% of global greenhouse gases. It will be the only country in the western hemisphere required to make significant reductions under the protocol to meet 1990 emission levels. Taxpayer dollars should be used for something worthwhile and for an effective cause, not for something ineffective or doomed to be a failure.
Both the Liberal cabinet and the caucus are divided on whether or not the government should ratify the Kyoto protocol. Ministers of Natural Resources, Industry and Finance have varying and contradicting opinions about Kyoto. Some have indicated their reluctance to see the government ratify it at this time. Other Liberals have been sitting on the fence and watching their wet finger figuring out which way the wind is blowing.
The former finance minister and the Liberal leader in waiting could have shown some leadership. How can he oppose the plan and then promise to vote in favour of it? I do not understand that. The Liberal record on protecting the environment and endangered species or dealing with pesticides, contaminations and pollutants is dismal. The Liberals have repeatedly broken their red book promises.
The provinces have no confidence in the federal Liberal government. The provinces have not been provided with a plan, even though they must find money to meet the targets. Conferences with the premiers have been postponed many times. British Columbia, for example, has invested heavily in the past decades in clean, renewable hydroelectricity, which supplies 90% of the province's energy needs. British Columbia's per capita greenhouse gas emissions are the third lowest in Canada. Yet under the government's implementation plan B.C. would suffer the worst job and economic impacts.
The federal government has spent millions of dollars on so-called consultations. Despite this Canadians are generally poorly informed on the Kyoto accord. Some think the Kyoto accord is a model of a Japanese car like the Honda Accord, while others visualize images of huge plants and factories billowing great mushroom clouds of poisonous smog. Most people believe that the protocol would affect only big businesses. It is not a joke, but rather a very serious matter.
The federal government, because of the lack of a clear approach and plan, has been unable and unsuccessful in educating and informing Canadians about this most expensive initiative ever. There is no legislation in the pipeline, so how can we believe the government? To meet the 240 megatonne made in Japan commitment, the government acknowledges there is still a 60 megatonne gap and it has been unable to close the gap. The plan has a few flaws. The figures do not add up and the government does not have a plan. Just like Humpty Dumpty, the Liberals think Kyoto can mean whatever they want it to mean. This is a recipe for abuse, fraud and corruption. Kyoto is an inadequate public relations scam and fraud.
Kyoto has never been about science; it has only been about politics. The only climate it would change would be the economic climate. Implementing the treaty would result in massive losses in jobs, productivity and wealth, unfairly affecting some regions of the country far more than others and devastating communities in the process. Job losses would be massive, about half a million. Domestic emission reductions alone could cost as high as $45 billion.
The Kyoto protocol is unfair to Canadian industry and would put us at a competitive disadvantage internationally, particularly with the U.S. Businesses may simply move across the border to avoid the costs of Kyoto. With no public benefits or even global ones, we would all lose. It is a lose-lose proposition. In B.C. pulp mills could ship wood chips to the United States for processing rather than run mills in B.C. Consideration should be given to the Dutch example. A strong economy would result in better environmental protection.
We must continue to conduct the necessary research to properly understand this complex issue. Clearly, today's climate change science does not provide a sufficiently robust foundation on which to base a significant and costly international treaty.
We should reduce real pollution as well as greenhouse gases which might be contributing to climate change by promoting: energy and resources conservation; transitional fuels such as propane, natural gas, ethanol and other biofuels; wind, solar and other alternative energy sources; and a society wide conversion to clean hydrogen fuel. We should not leave the minister's car running and thus setting a bad example. We should also work on adapting to climate change, whether natural or man made.
The Canadian Alliance opposes ratification of the protocol, but supports policies that would lead to both a healthier environment and a growing economy. The Kyoto environmental accord is a deeply flawed international deal. We should find scientific reasons and invest in technology so we could make significant contributions for generations to come.