Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Editorial Exchange: Canada Can Learn from U.S. on Climate Change

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Editorial Exchange: Canada Can Learn from U.S. on Climate Change

Article excerpt

Editorial Exchange: Canada can learn from U.S. on climate change

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An editorial from the Toronto Star, published Dec. 4:

Once again, Canada stands exposed as one of the world's top 10 greenhouse gas polluters as politicians, scientists and others meet in Doha, Qatar, to wring their hands over climate change. Last year Canadians spewed 2 per cent more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, the Global Carbon Project's latest survey reports.

That doesn't square with Environment Minister Peter Kent's contention that emissions have stabilized. But however scientists slice and dice the figures, "no one believes that Canada has the policies in place" to reach its target of cutting output by 17 per cent below 2005 levels by 2020, the Pembina Institute concludes in a study of its own. That's the Americans' goal, too. Only they seem to be doing better.

The Global Carbon Project credits the United States for reducing emissions by 2 per cent, even as ours rise.

There's a message here for Prime Minister Stephen Harper, whose government has been waiting for the Americans to act. The statistics suggest they have. What are we waiting for? Emissions growth from the western oilsands by 2020 will virtually cancel out reductions elsewhere, Pembina warns. And Gord Miller, Ontario's environmental commissioner, has just served notice that the province will fall "far short" of its goals, after scrapping or scaling back programs to promote greener cars and trucks, among other measures.

In Doha, the Big Picture looks dismal. Thanks to major polluters such as China and India whose output rose 10 per cent and 7 per cent respectively, the world pumped out 38.2 billion tons of gases last year, a 3-per-cent hike. And 2012 doesn't look much better. At this rate there's little hope of holding the increase in the Earth's temperature to 2 degrees Celsius. That means more melting Arctic ice, higher sea levels, droughts and floods, extreme weather, the spread of deserts, melting glaciers, and other calamities. Hence the push in Doha for a new climate treaty by 2020, new emissions cuts and funding to help poor countries adopt cleaner energy. …

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