The Canadian Press is reporting on a coalition of Quebec politicians and environmentalists demanding (1) that Canada live up to its Kyoto Accord commitments, and (2) that Environment Minister John Baird resign.
The beginning of the period in which those commitments start to count is January 1, 2008. Between then and 2012, Canada’s greenhouse-gas emissions are supposed to average 6 per cent below 1990 levels. They’re now about 35 per cent over 1990 levels.
The Tories had that study this spring — supported by the same economists who turned on the Conservatives when they released their own actual climate-change plan a few days later — showing the utterly devastating consequences of trying to live up to the letter of the Kyoto Accord with less than a year’s lead time. It’d be awful, possibly so bad that any measures designed to achieve that end would be roundly ignored by emitters and the population at large. Even with the army, the government might not be able to enforce rules that would simply shut down factories and power plants, shutter the oilsands, and order cars off the road.
This is the consequence of the country’s having done nothing to speak of in pursuit of the Kyoto targets between 1997 and 2007.
And yet here’s the New Democratic Party’s star Quebec candidate for the next election, former Quebec environment minister Thomas Mulcair:
Thomas Mulcair, the former Quebec environment minister who will represent the NDP in the next federal election, called Harper an “international embarrassment.”
“Start respecting our international obligations,” Mulcair said at a news conference in Montreal where four opposition parties joined forces to pressure the Conservatives over their environmental stance.
The only purpose of a demand like Mulcair’s is to make the government look bad for not meeting it — and he has a point inasmuch as the Kyoto Accord, having been ratified by Parliament and made the law of the land, needs to be repealed and formally abandoned, which could be difficult for a minority government.
The trouble here is that actual environmentalists who understand the issue will recognize just how cynical the opposition parties’ message is. By demanding the impossible, jerks like Mulcair are making the Conservatives the only party with a reasonable position on one element of the environment file.