Friday, November 03, 2006

Legality of ignoring the Kyoto Protocol

As a number of Canadian news outlets are reporting, Dr. Roda Verheyen, LL.M. (London), a Canadian attorney, has written a legal brief contending that Canada already is or will be legally breaching the Kyoto Protocol and UN Framework Convention on Climate Change by not making any "demonstrable progress" on GHG emissions reduction.

It appears to be a strong argument, though I am not the right judge of a legal document. If it is found to be true, keep in mind:
i) Canada, while among the worst offenders, would not be alone in breaching the Protocol. Spain's GHG emissions are 49% over 1990 levels.
ii) There are no immediate legal or financial penalties at the moment. Breach of the Protocol is supposed to mean tougher emissions cuts in the next agreement. Politically, that seems an unlikely way to engage a country that has made no progress; if you blow the first target, it is that much harder to meet the next one. The only certain impact (of a legal judgment) would be a (further?) dent in Canada's green, internationalist image.

If you are interested in a copy of the brief, let me know. It is too large to post.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I was looking for a news report listing the Kyoto signatory countries that will breach their Kyoto emissions targets. I found none. I wonder why that is, especially since I readily found dozens of news reports damning the U.S. for not participating in Kyoto.

So my question is this: Why should the U.S. have participated in Kyoto if so few of its signatories will keep their Kyoto promises? Just for the purpose of making the "appropriate" political show? To exhibit global leadership? Of what kind - leading the world in breaching treaties?