Alberta launches campaign against Kyoto

Alberta spending $1.5 million to campaign against Kyoto

The Alberta government is spending $1.5 million to publicize its opposition to the Kyoto Protocol on climate change.

"It's a very aggressive defensive action," Alberta Premier Ralph Klein said Wednesday.

Starting with newspaper, radio and TV ads in the province, the campaign will extend across the country this fall, Environment Minister Lorne Taylor said.

Klein and other ministers will carry the anti-Kyoto message to other provinces, especially Ontario, starting in October.

Wednesday evening, Prime Minister Jean Chrtien took his message on Kyoto to Calgary, where he told a fund-raising dinner that the energy business would bear only one-fifth of Kyoto's costs.

Taylor earlier complained that the federal government has not been able to provide Canadians with details about the costs of Kyoto. Chrtien revealed no details in his speech.

The Kyoto accord is intended to cut emissions of greenhouse gases caused by burning fossil fuels, such as gasoline, natural gas and coal.

Ottawa is expected to reveal some of its implementation plans at a meeting of energy and environment ministers on Oct. 21.

But the country is already divided. Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Roger Grimes said that given the economic costs, signing the accord doesn't make sense.

But Manitoba Premier Gary Doer said "we're going to have David versus Goliath in this debate. We're going to have the people of Canada who want this accord, who want to take action on climate change, being David and Goliath is obviously Alberta with its money and its resources."

Alberta's campaign says Kyoto will cost jobs, increase taxes, double the cost of electricity and drive gas prices to $1.10 a litre.

Taylor said the predictions, based on studies by the province and business groups, are uncertain.

A federal-provincial-territorial report, which included Alberta, said Kyoto would cost between nothing and two per cent of economic growth in 10 years.

But it recognized that Alberta, because of its energy industry and dependence on coal-fired electricity generating plants, would be especially hard hit.

The campaign is a response to Prime Minister Jean Chrtien, who earlier this month said the government would ask Parliament to ratify Kyoto before the end of the year.

Most Canadians, including most Albertans, support Kyoto, opinion polls show.