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
is not a pollutant and it should not be referred to as that.
Some government members have said that by controlling CO
we are also controlling some real pollutants. These members acknowledge that CO
is not a pollutant. They say that if we are controlling CO
because of the basket of pollutants that is released, CO
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
levels falls within norms that have been reached over the past few hundred thousand years. They have also found that the CO
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
levels a few hundred thousand years ago, yet the CO
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.