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
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
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
pipeline. From where to where? What are we going to do with it? Alberta is already capturing CO
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
when they are getting their seedlings started and they crack it because it is fertilizer for plants.
North America already is the largest CO
filter in the world. If we look at the slip stream coming in west to east and measure the CO
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.