After Kyoto

Andrew Leach considers the past, present and future of Canada’s involvement in international climate negotiations.

So, while Canada is right to abandon Kyoto, and Canada is right that an effective treaty to address global carbon emissions needs to include most/all countries, I don’t think they’re on the right track in demanding an agreement with binding targets for all countries.  First, it’s unlikely you’ll see binding emissions targets imposed on developing countries. That makes it less likely that Canada will have a role in formulating whatever agreement does come around if they’ve disavowed interest based on that condition..  Second, an agreement with binding emissions targets for everyone is, in my view, the last thing Canada should be pushing for.  Canada should, and I will write more on this later, be pushing for an international standard by which a facility operated in the UK, in Alberta, or in India would face the same effective carbon price, or the same reward for reducing emissions. That doesn’t mean carbon tax – it means a system which measures effort, and doesn’t reward historic emissions.

In a follow-up, he explains what withdrawing from Kyoto means in practical terms.

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