Let's face it, we all love the environment. What's not to
love? Air to breathe, water to drink
But sometimes it may not be
as clean as it could be, and that's why the federal government has
a department to protect it.
One of the main ways Canada said it would protect the natural world is through the Kyoto Protocol on
the Environment a pledge by developed countries to reduce greenhouse
gas emissions to approximately five per cent below 1990 levels by 2012.
Canada has agreed to reduce emissions by six per cent.
CBC LINK: The Kyoto Accord
But all is not necessarily moving along smoothly.
Take a look at the last two reports by Canada's commissioner of the Environment
and Sustainable Development .
They say the federal government has allowed a widening gap between its
environmental promises and its actions. Johanne Gélinas questions
whether the government will meet its Kyoto commitments, and reports that
federal departments are inconsistent in their efforts to meet sustainable
Gélinas also reports that some government plans on reducing emissions on Canada's
roads may not go far enough to meet Kyoto targets. She says the government “will
have some difficulty determining whether these efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions
will produce the expected results.”
Nor are all levels of government on-side. Alberta, for example, is the province with the
highest emissions, and it is currently not in favour of the Canadian plan for Kyoto
implementation. The provincial government says the plan would punish Alberta unnecessarily
and may not be ultimately effective in reducing pollution.
Not all the provinces are
opposed, though. Saskatchewan has expressed reservations about Kyoto, but Manitoba,
Nunavut and P.E.I. have already signed agreements with the federal government on
the priorities for reducing emissions.
Bureaucrats at the federal environment
ministry say discussions have begun with Newfoundland and Yukon for such agreements,
and Quebec, B.C., Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and the Northwest Territories have
expressed interest. Ontario's new government still
hasn't said what it will do.
There are also oil and gas and business interests to consider, Prime Minister. The
Canadian Chamber of Commerce worries the plan might hurt Canada's economy,
and the finances of small and large businesses.
The Sierra Club of Canada, a non-profit
environmental group, calls implementing Kyoto "the
most pressing environmental issue of our day." Martin von Mirbach, the national
conservation director, says that while there are other important environmental
issues, including protecting species at risk and the Mackenzie Valley Pipeline, "Canada's
willingness to implement Kyoto is the crucial test" of any new government.
And that means you.