Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Climate change: Canada cheats on Kyoto

Canada is withdrawing from the Kyoto Protocol. On the one hand, its not exactly surprising; the Harper government is full of climate change deniers, and openly hostile to international law. On the other hand, its also a blatant violation of their word, an attempt to cheat the Protocol and avoid meeting their obligations under it. Since they've done nothing to cut their emissions, that would have meant paying someone else to make equivalent cuts under the Protocol's "flexible mechanisms". The Canadian government is talking up the cost of this - C$13.6 billion, or C$1,600 for every Canadian - but that's what happens if you let your emissions grow. And just imagine what that C$13.6 billion could have done to green Canada's energy supplies...

The real worry is that this sets a bad precedent, and invites other polluter nations to do the same. Why meet your obligations, if you can just withdraw? Whatever comes after Kyoto (if anything does), we need to make sure that it cannot be cheated in this way again.