Flip-flop on climate policy

The Canadian government can’t keep their story straight.  On one hand, they have repeatedly said that Canada must follow the US on any climate policy. On the other hand, when faced with genuine action from the US, Canada has completely changed its tune. The government has argued that a policy without the US would be damaging to the Canadian economy, even though analysis has shown that our different mix of electricity would mean that under a cap-and-trade system, we would be buying the bulk of credits from the US. Despite Canada’s repeated message that it will harmonize their climate policy with the US it is clear that they have no plans to keep their word. The US has very recently put new regulations that will reduce emissions from industrial sources under the Environmental Protection Agency. These new rules go into effect Jan. 2nd. They would lead to large reductions in emissions, first from new developments, then eventually from existing operations. If a similar policy applied in Canada, new tar sands developments would be required to reduce emissions. This would greatly contribute to Canada´s overall emissions reductions, since tar sands are the fastest-growing source of greenhouse gases. But Canada has nothing similar in place, and has no plans to change that anytime soon. Environment Minister John Baird stated that they have no plans to follow the US initiatives (though he lated recanted and said that more study is needed). Even US officials have said that it might be useful for Canada and the US to harmonize regulation. Since our government has made plans to follow the American lead, they should at least be consistent and stick to that plan. We should not have to depend on another country to make domestic decisions. Canada is a sovereign country that democratically elects officials to govern and make policy in our best interests. Normally, we pride ourselves in taking a different path than the US in international policy, such as our positions in Afghanistan or Iraq. So why are we so weak on climate policy-which is becoming the most important international policy issue of our time?

2 Responses to “Flip-flop on climate policy”
  1. Tim says:

    Expecting any meaningful environmental regulation to come from the Conservatives is like expecting a hungry fox to walk out of a chicken coop. The present government doesn’t even believe in climate change.

    Stats from 2008 (I believe?) say that the tar sands actually make up a full third of Canada’s GHG emissions.

    • Tim says:

      Pardon me – the stats from 2008 actually say that Alberta’s tar sands, oil fields, and refineries (i.e., Alberta’s entire oil network) emit 1/3 of Canada’s total GHG emissions.

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