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Cutting too deep

Canada and Russia back away from G8’s greenhouse gas emission targets


 

Just as G8 leaders were putting the finishing touches on an ambitious plan to cut greenhouse gas emissions, Canadian officials were busying themselves finding ways to back out of it. The G8 plan calls for developed countries to cut their emissions by 80 per cent by 2050, but the Conservatives’ “made-in-Canada” plan instead calls for cuts of 60-70 per cent by then. Environment Minister Jim Prentice quickly made it clear the G8 target wouldn’t usurp his government’s, saying Canada “[doesn’t] need to change its policies” and dismissing the stricter target as “aspirational.” A Russian official echoed Canada’s concerns, saying his country would not “sacrifice our economic growth” and would instead focus on reducing emissions by 20-60 per cent by 2050. Meanwhile, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon criticized the G8 target as insufficient. “The policies that they have stated so far are not enough,” Ban said. “It’s not sufficient enough to meet the target as scientists on climate change have suggested.”

Canwest News Service

CBC News


 
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Cutting too deep

  1. The Lib-Left will be up in arms over this. How can anyone be prudent or realistic when it comes to the global warming hysteria?!? The horror! That just doesn't sit well with the Chicken Littles of the Left.

    We 36 million Canadians have to save the world by reducing our carbon footprint so that the 3 billion people in China and India don't have to.

    • Agreed that Canada shouldn't be trying to make up for China's shortcomings, but I don't see or hear many / any people actually advocating that course of action.

      Given that we shouldn't make-up for China, what is Canada's obligation?

      • There is always the quaint notion of doing the right thing. I love the baby-bathwater logic that sometimes gets used – if our virtuous actions won't have any effect (and will cost us) then the virtue is not worth acting upon. It's like me saying if I restrain my impulse to kill a man tonight, the world murder rates won't be noticeably lowered, so I might as well go ahead and do so.

        (p.s. no desire or intent to kill – just an example!)

        • Yeah, but what an example. Not sure that it is completely relevant, but it sure is catchy. Do you write headlines in your spare time?

          • Thanks! No headlining, but I wrote a series of columns for a year, as part of the local paper's community editorial board. I loved doing it, partly because learning to boil down my ideas down to 650 words was a great challenge – it really forced me to get to the essential substance of things (which the paper's headline writer would ignore as he or she crafted a line that had little to do with my arguments!).

        • Ah yes, but problem is there is no competitive disadvantage when it comes to not killing someone and there is a huge competitive disadvantaged associated with reducing carbon emissions.

          I'm all for doing the right thing. I just have one question. Is ruining our economy for something that will have little to no effect the right thing to do? The argument isn't (or shouldn't) be about 'doing the virtuous thing' but is rather about what really is the virtuous thing to do. I too think that the virtuous thing is worth doing even when it may cost you something, and so I would say that maintaining a strong economy is worth doing even if it may 'cost' us something environmentally.

          • Hmmm. The problem I see is that we can reinvent our economy, but we only have one planet. The economic arguments are certainly worth considering, but I find it odd that so many are willing to outright trust the dire predictions of economic ruin, often while dismissing the potential threat of global warming.

            Ask yourself: who has a better track record for prediction? The weather man or the economist?

          • Completing a true cost-benefit analysis seems like a great way to figure out the best course of action. What is the best balance between the costs of taking action (accounting for probability of success) and the costs of adapting as time goes on?

            When you mentioned the environmental costs, I'm not sure why you used quotes around cost. The costs of adapting will be very real, and ultimately a cost can even be assigned to abstract things such as the view of a glacier or a rushing mountain river.

            Also, of course, we always need to keep in mind that today's coal fired power plant maintenance workers (for example) would make excellent wind turbine maintenance workers, assuming wind power became a replacement source of electricity. If not wind power, there will be an industry that replaces coal fired power that will need skilled maintenance workers.

            Sorry in advance if this ends up posted twice..still battling with this www thing.

  2. "A Russian official echoed Canada's concerns, saying his country would not “sacrifice our economic growth[.]”"

    Well, there will sure be a lot of economic growth when the world heats up and becomes unlivable.

  3. I think that using a target percentage for reducing carbon is a silly ploy. We should instead be concentrating on the actual problem rather then the result. If the G8 combined their efforts to come up with standardized echo friendly technology to replace the old outdated tech we'd be much better off and we'd save a lot of time, money and effort.

    Also the conservatives complaining over 10 percent (80 versus 70) is just like them. Common Tories use your heads! If America and the rest can make 80 percent surely Canada can. We're supposed to be world leaders in the environment!

    • "If the G8 combined their efforts to come up with standardized echo friendly technology to replace the old outdated tech we'd be much better off and we'd save a lot of time, money and effort."

      I don't know about that. With the exception of the atom bomb, governments don't have a great track record in spearheading scientific advances. I think we're better off to levy the true (social, environmental) costs of carbon burning/release (caps, taxes, whatever), and let the inventors and motivated corporations of the world figure out the best alternative strategies.

      Consider the case of CFCs used in refrigerants – the Ontario government (NDP, if I recall) gave the industry five years to phase them out and find a replacement. And it happened. (There may have been other jurisdictions that did it first, that's just the case I know.). No reason why a similar strategy wouldn't work in this case. The main obstacle is creating a globally level playing field.

      • "The main obstacle is creating a globally level playing field. "

        That's the rub. There is no way that India and China will agree to any type of reductions.

        • Yes, but any corporation that wants to operate in jurisdictions outside those nations, or to engage in commerce outside those jurisdictions, could be largely covered by a global agreement.

          • China and India's only reason for being is producing our commodity goods as cheaply as possible, the majority of the products the G8 buys from them is also made in the G8 countries, at a much higher price of course. If the entire G8 got together and put a carbon tax on all imports, then carbon emission from these countries would no longer be an issue because they would rather buy our carbon-less production technology than have their goods sold with a tax premium.

            The snag right now is the economy because every country on the G8 owes China and India billions in money and they can't repay it at the moment. Putting up a tax on imports would elevate the global tension.

        • There's never been a true level playing field between India and China, at least when it comes to trade between us and them. Stricter carbon emissions standards are just like our stricter labour laws, human rights, social services and minimum wage – they add a cost to production. Saying that we need to wait until the global playing field is level is simply an excuse for inaction.

        • Ever? Or just in the next year or two?

  4. Canada cutting back on Greenhouse Gases would be the equivalent of Shanghai cutting back. Sorry, but i actually support Canada on this issue, it is not needed.

    • Don't tell the Lib-Left that, according to them Canada an save the world.

  5. Putting ourselves in the poor house and destroying our economies — and Western civilization as we know it — has long been the plan of all those lefties and anarchists who have used the "environment" as a way of introducing communist, anarchist, etc. ideas through the back door without anyone noticing. Those people who peddle the myth and scam of "man-made" global warming are not any better than al-Qaeda and bin Laden. They both share one common goal: the destruction of Western civilization.

    That UN joker and fool Ban should shut up. The "scientists" who backed the "science" behind the UN approach have been debunked: there are now more (actual) scientists who say the opposite (http://www.wernerpatels.com/2009/06/man-made-glob

    Even the left-wing government of Australia is about to shelve its "anti-global warming" program.

    Make sure that the air and water are clean and fight pollution — unfortunately, these are things that have almost been forgotten in all this nonsense about "man-made" global warming. Instead of cleaning up our environment, we have been forced to waste our time, money and energy on "hot air".

    Al Gore should have his Nobel taken away (he's just a con-artist and snake-oil salesman, after all) and be hit over the head with it several times a day.

  6. Putting ourselves in the poor house and destroying our economies — and Western civilization as we know it — has long been the plan of all those lefties and anarchists who have used the "environment" as a way of introducing communist, anarchist, etc. ideas through the back door without anyone noticing. Those people who peddle the myth and scam of "man-made" global warming are not any better than al-Qaeda and bin Laden. They both share one common goal: the destruction of Western civilization.

    That UN joker and fool Ban should shut up. The "scientists" who backed the "science" behind the UN approach have been debunked: there are now more (actual) scientists who say the opposite ( http://www.wernerpatels.com/2009/06/man-made-glob… ).

    Even the left-wing government of Australia is about to shelve its "anti-global warming" program.

    Make sure that the air and water are clean and fight pollution — unfortunately, these are things that have almost been forgotten in all this nonsense about "man-made" global warming. Instead of cleaning up our environment, we have been forced to waste our time, money and energy on "hot air".

    Al Gore should have his Nobel taken away (he's just a con-artist and snake-oil salesman, after all) and be hit over the head with it several times a day.

    • Couldn't agree more, except that I hold the media accountable, not Al Gore. Why doesnt the main stream media report on all the facts?

      Where are the scientific debates? Cmon media, do your job!!

  7. You are a complete patsy, a paranoid clueless twit, a laughable nutbar, and a menace to your own grandchildren, Patels. You are so full of —- it must explode out your mouth every time you part your thin, humourless lips. It is clear that you know and understand nothing, just nothing, nothing whatsoever, about the scientific method, the peer review process, the culture of science, or indeed about the basics of atmospheric chemistry (oxygen and nitrogen are transparent to both visible and infrared radiation; carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide and a few other trace gases are transparent to visible wavelengths but opaque to infrared, you clueless, science-illiterate, crazy-conspiracy-theory, pompous ninny). It is clear you've never met a real, working climate scientist, either. It's a shame the thought police at Macleans will probably delete my reply to your nutty-nutbar conspiracy rant for being "rude"; apparently it's okay to insult the entire scientific community, and accuse them of lying, faking, making shit up, and misleading the public because of some dark urge to sabotage the economy, but it's over-the-line to point out what an idiot guys like you are for engaging in such ludicrous paranoid b.s.. Flakes like you need to be firmly put in their place, in public, to spur the glimmer of doubt in your rigid little ideology-soaked paranoid brains that might get you to read up on some actual science. Too many people believe the sort of crap you believe and then go around repeating it over and over, spreading your paranoid conspiracy theories to others, weakening our ability to form a common purpose by causing spineless politicians to freeze and faint from initiating a decarbonisation of our infrastructure.

    • Spoken like a true alarmist. Discredit much?

      • f4hq…..wow. you SAD, simple human being, put down the banjo and go do a little research…it's all there for you.

    • If anyone is a raging lunatic, it is you sir. You and your head twit Big Al have had your 15 min. People are sick and tired of your name calling and dehumanizing anyone who disagrees with your new eco-religion. Time for someone to put a sock in your tail pipe. Cheers

    • "Flakes like you need to be firmly put in their place, in public, to spur the glimmer of doubt in your rigid little ideology-soaked paranoid brains that might get you to read up on some actual science"

      I hope in you ideologically soaked rant you aren't trying to discredit that fact that people have their own ideologies….

      Hate ideas not people :)

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