From firstname.lastname@example.org Tue Feb 20 06:24:31 2001
Date: Thu, 15 Feb 2001 10:19:53 -0600 (CST)
From: Mark Graffis <email@example.com>
Subject: Concern Expressed in Europe About Canada's Environmental Decline
MONTREAL, February 14, 2001—Environment officials in the United States and Europe have been watching in disbelief as Canada, particularly its Provinces, fall behind on environmental protection and greenhouse gas emissions reductions. Where Canada was a leader in the 1970's and the 1980's, it has failed to keep up with world environmental progress in the 1990's. Much of this came from the massive budget cuts and senior science and engineering staff cuts in Environment Canada and the provinces in the mid-1990's.
At least Environment Canada has been turned around with new cash and some staff infusions from the Government of Canada. But Alberta, Quebec, and Ontario continue to treat environment as an obstacle to economic development and have relegated environmental protection to the back of the Cabinet Bus. This environmental backslide in Canada has not gone unseen by the rest of the world.
The Center for International Climate and Environmental Research
(CICERO), based in Oslo, Norway, has just published an article
entitled, Canada on the Brink: From Frontrunner to Laggard?, and
written by researchers, Jonas Vevatne and Santiago Olmos. They wrote
Canada was lambasted as 'Fossil of the Week' at the
Sixth Conference of the Parties (COP 6) in The Hague by environmental
activists and was accused of attempting to water down the Kyoto
Protocol. At the same time, the election campaigns were underway in
Canada where climate issues were hardly mentioned. What is happening
to one of the most active environmental frontrunners of the 1980's
when its Minister of Environment doesn't even show up to COP
6? CICERO said that,
Canada was named Fossil of the Week for
its efforts to include existing forests and agriculture in the
category of carbon sinks (absorption of carbon dioxide n forests and
land). Canada was criticized particularly strongly for its demand that
export of nuclear energy technology should be covered by the Clean
Development Mechanism (CDM), so that it could export nuclear power
plants to developing countries as a greenhouse gas reduction
measure. adding that even,
David Runnalls believes that the
criticism was well deserved. The article says one of the reasons
for Canada's decline is the decline in environmental interest by
the two large opposition parties.
The Canadian Alliance, the official opposition, and the Block
Quebecois, are both more interested in expanding regional powers, not
environmental powers. CICERO quoted David Runnalls, President of
Canada's International Institute for Sustainable Development
(IISD) based in Winnipeg, as saying that,
the main opposition
party, the Canadian Alliance dedicated only one sentence to
environmental protection in its 23-page program, and has not
formulated any climate policy or position on the Kyoto Protocol. The
Liberal strongly A emphasized the possible economic benefits of
climate measures but have nevertheless failed to make the environment
an issue in the campaign. The report stated that,
polarization of the election race has dampened the parties'
willingness to enter into a debate on the environment, and there is
little to indicate that there will be any change in the short run.
For more information contact the Center for International Climate and Environmental Research (CICERO), Pb. 1129, Blindem, Sognsvelen 68, 0318 Oslo, Norway, phone 22.214.171.124.50, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or email@example.com. To download the full paper go to http://www.cicero.uio.no/cicerone/00/6/Eng/cic6santiago.pdf. Also see the GCSI article on politics and GHG in Canada http://www.gcsi.ca/risingheat.html. And see the West Coast Environmental Law Center's report card on GHG and Canada at http://www.wcel.org/wcelpub/2000/13244.pdf.