From Tue Feb 20 06:24:31 2001
Date: Thu, 15 Feb 2001 10:19:53 -0600 (CST)
From: Mark Graffis <>
Subject: Concern Expressed in Europe About Canada's Environmental Decline
Article: 115124
To: undisclosed-recipients:;

Concern Expressed in Europe About Canada's Environmental Decline

EarthVision Environmental News, 15 February 2001

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 that, 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, the strong 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, email [2], or [3] To download the full paper go to [4] Also see the GCSI article on politics and GHG in Canada [5] And see the West Coast Environmental Law Center's report card on GHG and Canada at [6]