Thursday, October 05, 2006

Blustering about climate policy in Canada

The Canadian Environment Minister Rona Amborse was 'grilled' yesterday during Question Period about the new climate and air quality policy, according to the CBC. Ambrose failed again to give any specific about the new policy other than "It’s time for a brand-new approach to the environment. This new approach is going to address the real priorities of Canadians in a tangible and accountable way."

The quote and the constant complaints about the former Liberal government's failure to implement an effective Kyoto implementation plan suggests the new policy will have little to do with climate change and international emissions targets, and more to do with what one might call the modus operandi of the current Canadian government: set very achievable goals, and then boast that promises are being met. Maybe that is good politics. It is not good for the climate.

That's why I continue to say watch out for an exotic-sounding but empty "intensity"-based target.

For a foreign take on this issue, try the Washington Post. As the article points out, the new policy may still prove politically divisive, especially if it focuses on emissions from the Ontario-based auto sector and not the Alberta-based oil sector. If so, the Conservative government would fall into similar trap as the Liberals' Kyoto policy, which they gave the auto sector and some industries a pass on emissions reduction. A sensible emissions policy is one that targets industries equally, like the new California policy.

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