I realize that some people are confused by my statement in the Legislature last week that I did not believe that Alberta could meet the Kyoto target of 6% reduction in greenhouse gases below 1990 levels by 2012. This position is based on two facts: firstly the Alberta government has fiercely denied and delayed action, wasting a decade of action since Canada signed on to the Protocol and our emissions are now roughly 30% above 1990 levels. Fossil fuel energy is still the mainstay in Alberta and decreasing its use by nearly 40% in four years would have unacceptable consequences on employment and the economy in most expert opinions.
Secondly, Alberta is one of ten provinces in the country and must operate within a national framework that still, in 2007, does not exist! This is very disturbing and is no excuse for Alberta to delay any longer but without a common set of rules many of the economic penalties and incentives cannot work effectively to reduce emissions.
I believe strongly in the objectives of the Protocol â€“ to reduce greenhouse gas emissions â€“ and I was even fired from the Palliser Health Region for speaking out in favour of the agreement (making the link between health and the environment), however, as a public servant I must keep in balance social and economic values while pressing hard for real leadership on climate warming (climate â€˜chaosâ€™ I prefer). In short, ideally I would love it if Alberta could meet it’s Kyoto committments but because of the dithering and campaign of misinformationÂ by this waywardÂ government, I am deeply saddened to say that meeting our Kyoto commitment is no longer feasible (especially considering that Premier Stelmach said he will not â€œtouch the brakesâ€ on oilsands development).
This isnâ€™t to say, however, that Iâ€™ve given up on the goal of real and drastic reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. As Alberta is the province within Canada creating the largest amount of GHGs per person, and is the province with the greatest increase in GHGs predicted due to increased oilsands development, it is our duty to take the lead in addressing climate change by reducing emissions. In the Legislature on April 11th I introduced two amendments to the governmentâ€™s Bill 3: Climate Change and Emissions Management Amendment Act 2007. I called for increasing emissions intensity targets until 2012, when a hard cap would be brought in. I also suggested adding progressively increasing per-tonne fees for excess emissions, the revenue from which could be used for a fund to encourage energy efficiency and renewable energy in Alberta. The Conservative government rejected these amendments leaving us with a weak Bill that will see up to 70% increase in carbon emissions by 2020! Another weakness of the Bill 3 is no new funding for climate chaos. The Stern Report indicated that if governments do not spend 1% of their Gross Domestic Product to reduce impacts of warming they will face catastrophic costs in 1-2 decades. In Alberta our GDP is roughly $212 billion/year and 1% would be $2 billion. This province is spending a small fraction of this amount.
Let me know what you think about Albertaâ€™s position on climate change. Read Hansard for the debate on Bill 3 and meet with your MLA to let him/her know what you think about climate change. This is what democracy looks like!
Read my amendments to Bill 3 here: Climate Change and Emissions Management Amendment Act 2007
Read articles about Alberta’s legacy of resistance to Kyoto:
Alberta to Fight Ratification of Kyoto (CBC, September 9 2002)
Alberta Launches Campaign Against Kyoto (CBC September 18, 2002)
Klein Backs off from Anti-Kyoto Ad-Blitz (CBC October 17, 2002)
Watch CBC reports on Alberta’s Kyoto denial (Real Video):
No Exporting of Anti-Kyoto Ads
Read Alana Delong’s statements on Kyoto and Climate Change from November 2002.Â This outlines why we are so far behind on reducing emissions: Kyoto by Alana Delong MLA
Read about how I was fired for speaking in favour of the Kyoto Accord:
Kyoto Views Get Medical Officer Fired (CBC October 5, 2002)
David Swann finds his voice and fights back (FFWD Weekly Calgary)
David Suzuki on David’s firing (Oct. 4 2002)
Watch the 2002 CBC report about my firing (RealVideo):
Rick Boguski reports for CBC