Mr. Speaker, what I would like to do today is discuss three points. One of them is very much inspired by the intervention by the Minister of the Environment this morning who described Kyoto as a distraction from better ideas like Bill C-30. He said, as well, that Kyoto was a 50 year marathon.
Today I want to do three things. The first is to show why Kyoto is not a distraction; far from it. It is a crucial and essential component to any climate change plan in Canada.
Second, I want to say that if we are going to have a 50 year marathon we need to get out of the starting blocks sooner rather than later and now is the time to do it.
I also would like to describe what the elements of a real climate change plan would look like as opposed to the dribble of reannouncements in a weakened form of things that we introduced, as well as Bill C-30, which, as the member from Timmins pointed out, is one of the worst pieces of legislation ever to hit this House, even though he decided to bring it back for reasons that are not entirely clear to us.
If time permits, my third point will be to set out four criteria by which any climate change plan can be judged for its effectiveness.
I will begin with the necessary connection between Kyoto and a climate change plan in Canada. By definition, climate change is a global problem requiring a global solution. The Kyoto protocol is the only global forum in which the world can come together. Despite the imperfections of the protocol, it is the only global forum in which we can collectively advance this file.
It is true that Canada's greenhouse gas emissions are only 2% but if we expect others, as the government does, such as India, China and the United States, to do their part, we need them to join in, not for us to leave Kyoto or to ignore Kyoto. We need to stay in and we need to stay in in good faith, as we did under the previous government, to do our part and to help others, particularly developing countries, do their part as well. A global problem demands a global solution and the only global structure for doing that is the Kyoto protocol.
Kyoto will help a Canadian climate change plan. First, it puts our targets and goals into an international framework. It gives us a sense of deadlines, a sense of urgency. If we do not set these targets and these deadlines we will take no action whatever.
Second, if we in good faith attempt to meet our targets and timetables, we leverage our success and results to get other countries to do their part. It also sets in perspective what is our fair share of this problem. We cannot do this in isolation for a global problem.
The third point is that the Kyoto protocol is the only one which gives us access to international mechanisms, like the clean development mechanism, to help other countries, particularly developing countries, meet their targets. It also has the effect of making life easier for Canadian industry.
We forget that when we agreed to international mechanisms, like the clean development mechanism, which allows us to work with other countries to get credits, it was at the request of the Canadian business community.
It is interesting that in one of today's newspapers Stavros Dimas, who is the environment commissioner for the European Union, said this of the clean development mechanism:
This [mechanism] allows national governments to meet part of their Kyoto target by financing emission-reduction projects in the developing world. One tonne of carbon dioxide has the same effect whether it is emitted in Montreal, Mexico or Mumbai. Currently, 168 countries, covering over 90 per cent of the global population, can engage in this emerging carbon market.
Using CDM allows the EU to meet its Kyoto target at lower cost. Most importantly, it also supports investment to boost clean growth in developing countries, demonstrates the potential of new, clean technologies, allows developing countries access to modern technologies and gives EU companies access to new markets. It also means that many more countries benefit from participating in the global effort to limit climate change.
That is why we need to be in the Kyoto protocol and that is why there are these references in the motion today that we must do our part within that framework.
The second question I asked was: What were the elements of a plan B, a serious plan, as opposed to dribs and drabs of announcements in a feeble form of projects that were cancelled a year ago, and of a bill which confuses climate change with air pollution?
The problem we face in reducing greenhouse gases can be divided into more or less six equal components.
Greenhouse gases are produced by electrical generation, upstream oil and gas, heavy industry, residential and commercial, transportation, and agriculture and waste. Each one of those, if we are going to have a solution, takes a treatment and a set of projects, and a set of programs to deal with. They are interrelated, but they are also separate.
How do we imagine undertaking this great enterprise?
It seems to me that if climate change is the problem which every scientist in the world describes and has the economic consequences which Sir Nicholas Stern has described if we do not take action, we need to imagine ourselves mobilizing as we did during the second world war, mobilizing our economy, mobilizing our industry.
It is worth noting that we did that in a five-year period. We went from zero military production to full military production in a five-year period. We knew how to do it as Canadians. That happens to be exactly the same time that remains between now and 2012, the first Kyoto implementation period.
When we did it in World War II, it had the effect of totally transforming the Canadian economy, of creating a great industrial power. That is the way in which we need to view our tackling of the six great challenges, the six more or less equal slices that will require our solution.
What we need, in effect, is to couple our meeting of Kyoto targets, a response to global warming as a new industrial and, I would add, agricultural strategy which will transform Canada's economy for the 21st century, based on energy saving, innovation, and new techniques for agriculture and natural resources.
This will be a great project for Canada. It is never a mistake to undertake measures which save energy, and a great deal of what we are talking about, five-sixths of those slices, are directly about energy.
Finally, I said that there were four criteria by which any plan which addressed these six issues would be judged.
First, does it actually lead to measurable greenhouse gas reductions?
Second, is it efficient economically? Does it help us to be competitive and innovative? Do we undertake measures which are the cheapest way of getting there, as the European commissioner suggested?
Third, which is of concern to all of us, is, is it politically saleable? Is it socially just? Are we being unfair to certain segments of the population? That political test, which is our business, is hugely important, but I think the Canadian people want us to show political will. I think the climate, in every way, has changed not only the natural climate but the political climate.
Fourth, whatever measure we undertake, is it administratively feasible? Is it the simplest way of getting there? Which leads us to market-based regulation solutions like cap and trade which is probably, as we have learned in the fight against acid rain, the simplest, most elegant way of bringing around real reductions of carbon dioxide and greenhouse gases.
We know that if industry is set a target, given a cap, it will find a way, without our telling it what it is. It will be incented to produce surpluses, to trade and sell to other industries. This is the success, to date, of the European model.
So, with those words, I heartily endorse this motion and wait for questions.