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Canada First Nation To Pull Out of Kyoto Accord 561

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the then-let-them-ride-bikes dept.
Hugh Pickens writes "Canada will become the first country to formally withdraw from the Kyoto protocol on climate change, dealing a symbolic blow to the troubled global treaty. 'Kyoto, for Canada, is in the past,' says Environment Minister Peter Kent. 'We are invoking our legal right to formally withdraw from Kyoto.' Kent, a Conservative, says the Liberals should not have signed up to a treaty they had no intention of respecting and says Ottawa backs a new global deal to cut emissions of greenhouse gases, but insists it has to cover all nations, including China and India, which are not bound by Kyoto's current targets. Kent adds that meeting Canada's obligations under Kyoto would cost $13.6 billion: 'That's $1,600 from every Canadian family — that's the Kyoto cost to Canadians, that was the legacy of an incompetent liberal government.' Kent's announcement came just hours after negotiators in Durban managed to thrash out an agreement at the very last minute — an agreement to begin a new round of talks on a new agreement in the years ahead. 'Staying under 2C will require drastic, immediate action — with global emissions peaking in the next five years or so,' writes Brad Plummer. 'The Durban Platform, by contrast, merely prods countries to come up with a new agreement that will go into effect no later than 2020.'"
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Canada First Nation To Pull Out of Kyoto Accord

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  • wow.. I wonder how much a 2 degree change in average temperatures will cost Canadians?
    • Re:TCO (Score:5, Funny)

      by Exitar (809068) on Tuesday December 13, 2011 @06:47AM (#38353346)

      Less snow, more farmable land?
      Maybe they plan to become the first producers of bananas within the end of the century...

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Trepidity (597)

        More farmable land is actually one of the predictions: some models show America's "wheat belt" migrating northwards, so the plains of Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba will become productive in the way that Iowa, the Dakotas, Nebraska, and Kansas currently are for the U.S.: here's a map [bbc.co.uk]

    • Depends on how it's distributed. If it's a perfectly even distribution, or skewed slightly south, then some parts of Canada may become suitable for human habitation. If it's focussed more in the north, then expect large amounts of flooding as the snow and ice melt. Unfortunately, an average increase is likely to mean some places getting significantly warmer and others getting significantly colder - if you pump a huge amount of energy into a chaotic system, the results are (by definition) difficult to pre
  • By 2019.... (Score:3, Informative)

    by harvey the nerd (582806) on Tuesday December 13, 2011 @06:43AM (#38353324)
    By 2019 they will be saying "never mind about what we said about the hot weather, just get your mittens and coats ready when solar magnetic decline and solar minimum freeze (y)our (r)ears off in 2020".
  • Huh? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Black Parrot (19622) on Tuesday December 13, 2011 @06:44AM (#38353330)

    I thought Durban managed an agreement that China and India *will* now be included.

    Is this guy speaking for the government, or just another political blowhard?

    • Re:Huh? (Score:4, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 13, 2011 @06:52AM (#38353370)

      He's the Environment Minister. Official part of the "Harper Government"(tm).

      Yes, it's an embarrassing time to be a Canadian. There used to be a time when we would take part in multinational initiatives and act as a positive mediator who helped countries reach consensus. Now we sabotage them.

      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by Black Parrot (19622)

        Yes, it's an embarrassing time to be a Canadian.

        Welcome to the club... my whole adult life has been an embarrassing time to be a USAian.

      • Re:Huh? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by gmack (197796) <gmack@iPOLLOCKnnerfire.net minus painter> on Tuesday December 13, 2011 @08:58AM (#38353950) Homepage Journal

        He's the Environment Minister. Official part of the "Harper Government"(tm).

        Yes, it's an embarrassing time to be a Canadian. There used to be a time when we would take part in multinational initiatives and act as a positive mediator who helped countries reach consensus. Now we sabotage them.

        You mean "pretend to take part in multinational initiatives". The government that signed the stupid agreement in the first place didn't do much of anything to actually bring down our carbon emissions.

      • Re:Harper (Score:4, Informative)

        by Phrogman (80473) on Tuesday December 13, 2011 @12:41PM (#38356484) Homepage

        It has been embarrassing to see my fellow Canadians elect Harper and his "Conservatives" (read: Reform Party in disguise/Canadian Republican Party) in the first place. I think his only goal is to maintain power so he can remake Canada into a miniature version of the US under the Republicans. No doubt he wants to have us give up our sovereignty and become additional states down the road. Sorry to all you US /. readers but I see that as a very bad thing :(
        I wouldn't buy a used car from him. I am deeply embarrassed that my fellow citizens have been stupid enough to elect him and then give him a majority government.
        Whatever they say is the reason for pulling out of Kyoto officially, the real reason will be that his corporate owners do not want to spend additional money to be environmentally responsible instead of making profits and he knows he has a stranglehold on Canada at the moment and can do whatever he wants.

    • Re:Huh? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by CrimsonAvenger (580665) on Tuesday December 13, 2011 @10:28AM (#38354764)

      I thought Durban managed an agreement that China and India *will* now be included.

      Durban managed an agreement that China, India, the USA will be included in a new agreement, which agreement will be negotiated in the next three years and not come into effect until 2020.

      Note that this new agreement (the one to be negotiated by 2015) hasn't actually been agreed to by China, India, or the USA.

      Note that the terms of the new agreement haven't been negotiated, so it's impossible to say whether binding agreements are going to be included.

      And, note finally, that China (at least) has said that they won't accept binding limitations on carbon emissions before 2030 at least.

  • by Stoopiduk (1593855) <garyleehoward@googlemail.com> on Tuesday December 13, 2011 @06:47AM (#38353342)

    I can't see the validity in an argument justifying Western emissions based on the emissions of developing nations. Just because they're not doing their bit, doesn't mean we shouldn't do ours.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Muros (1167213)
      You would have a great deal of difficulty with such an argument if you were trying to base it on facts anyway. This picture [wikimedia.org] tells a slightly different story to the one that the crowd who complain about India and China would have you believe.
      • by swalve (1980968)
        Dividing it per capita has that effect. What are the gross numbers, since that's all that matters to the atmosphere?
        • by Muros (1167213) on Tuesday December 13, 2011 @07:54AM (#38353644)
          That is a terrible way of looking at it. The US has a population 75 times the size of the country I live in, and a per capita CO2 output 1.8 times as high. Are you suggesting that us increasing ours by a factor of 135 would be acceptable?
  • by Rogerborg (306625) on Tuesday December 13, 2011 @06:51AM (#38353358) Homepage

    We're trying to tell the teeming masses in India and China that they can't aspire to have luxuries like refrigerators, washing machines and cars. Quite rightly, they don't give a damn about our rank hypocrisy.

    Even if every decadent Western nation beggars itself (and we won't) then India and China will pick up the emissions slack within a decade or so (and they will anyway).

    Emissions restrictions are dead in the water on the global scale. Instead, how about we start from the premise that people are going to strive to live rich, comfortable, high energy lives, and that they're going to keep having lots of kids who will expect to have more than their parents had.

    There are essentially two solutions: cull about 4 billion people, or throw resources at clean power until it sticks, and I mean trillion dollar tranches of funding at fusion.

    tl;dr version - emissions will go down when it's cheaper to produce green energy than to burn coal, and not one moment before.

    • Thought-provoking article, though her solutions are probably too 'radical' for many, by (Canadian) Naomi Klein:
      http://www.thenation.com/article/164497/capitalism-vs-climate

    • by bug1 (96678)

      And if we could generate clean energy at half the price as energy from coal, then what do you think will happen to the price of coal, do you think it might go down, can you see a problem ?

      Capitalism alone can not solve this problem.

      No country can be allowed to act in its own best interests and ignoring the fate of everyone.

    • by gutnor (872759)
      There may be more to it than that. China and India also prepare to be the first victims of global warming and they know it. They have all interest of getting all the power and money they can - they will not cripple their economy now. Also there is no hope that any type of climate treaty will be followed if it put any country at a disadvantage (see what happen in Europe with the EUR crisis: nations behaves between themselves like middle managers in a large organisation: blame shifting, petty strategies to lo
    • by swalve (1980968)
      It isn't hypocrisy to say "holy shit, save yourselves and don't make the same mistakes we did."
    • by drinkypoo (153816) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Tuesday December 13, 2011 @07:43AM (#38353598) Homepage Journal

      We're trying to tell the teeming masses in India and China that they can't aspire to have luxuries like refrigerators, washing machines and cars. Quite rightly, they don't give a damn about our rank hypocrisy.

      False. We're trying to tell them they can't go the same way we went, because the planet can't sustain it. It's still hypocritical, but it's NOT the same thing you're saying. There are ways to have these things without destroying the planet. China is not exploring these ways.

      Even if every decadent Western nation beggars itself (and we won't) then India and China will pick up the emissions slack within a decade or so (and they will anyway).

      Well yes, that's why Kyoto fails.

      There are essentially two solutions: cull about 4 billion people, or throw resources at clean power until it sticks, and I mean trillion dollar tranches of funding at fusion.

      We have the technology TODAY to replace the MAJORITY of our energy consumption with wind, solar, biodiesel from algae, and the like. We are not using it. The problem is not technology but WILL.

      tl;dr version - emissions will go down when it's cheaper to produce green energy than to burn coal, and not one moment before.

      You forgot "when one world government forces people who now enjoy an industrialized lifestyle to live in mud huts"... I mean, that's not the only outcome I see possible, but it's another outcome.

      • We have the technology TODAY to replace the MAJORITY of our energy consumption with wind, solar, biodiesel from algae, and the like. We are not using it. The problem is not technology but WILL.

        No, the problem isn't WILL, it's COST. Even if wind/solar/biodiesel/nuclear cost about the same as coal/oil (nuclear does, the rest are headed that way, but not there yet), replacing all the existing infrastructure will have to be paid for over a short period.

        During that short period (a decade or so?), costs for ene

    • by AmiMoJo (196126)

      We're trying to tell the teeming masses in India and China that they can't aspire to have luxuries like refrigerators, washing machines and cars. Quite rightly, they don't give a damn about our rank hypocrisy.

      That isn't what Kyoto was saying at all. We have have a high standard of living while reducing pollution and carbon emissions, it just costs a bit more so naturally developing nations complain that it holds them back. We have been helping them with it in some cases, and forcing them in others (e.g. ROHS).

      Even if every decadent Western nation beggars itself (and we won't) then India and China will pick up the emissions slack within a decade or so (and they will anyway).

      So you honestly think that by reducing pollution and carbon emissions through new technology and working practices a country will beggar itself? You may not have noticed by nuclear power doesn't produce muc

  • Tar Sands (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 13, 2011 @06:52AM (#38353364)

    Conservative government that is about to make huge amounts of money for their oil buddies with the tar sands in the midwest part of the country.

    Yeah I can see why they want out of the Kyoto protocol.

    that $13 billion number is likely the amount they're about to reap from tar sand processing

    • Conservative government that is about to make huge amounts of money for their oil buddies with the tar sands in the midwest part of the country.

      Yeah I can see why they want out of the Kyoto protocol.

      that $13 billion number is likely the amount they're about to reap from tar sand processing

      Or kickbacks for the politicians...

    • Re:Tar Sands (Score:4, Insightful)

      by evilcoop (65814) on Tuesday December 13, 2011 @09:51AM (#38354390)

      So, Canada is going to let a multi-trillion dollar resource sit in the ground? That resource is going to get developed and shipped south to the USA and west to China. The oil sands will be developed. The oil sands contribute about 5% of Canada's carbon emissions currently so eliminating them completely would not put a dent in our carbon usage.

      The fact is Canada is a cold, sparsely populated country with high energy needs.

  • Japan started first (Score:4, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 13, 2011 @07:09AM (#38353472)

    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2010-11-30/world-shouldn-t-wait-for-u-s-resolution-on-climate-agreement-japan-says.html [bloomberg.com]

    Canada may have been the first to formally withdraw but Japan started the ball rolling by refusing to extend the Kyoto Accord.

  • problem (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Tom (822) on Tuesday December 13, 2011 @07:32AM (#38353564) Homepage Journal

    The problem is that we need people who think long-term to solve this. But none of the people in power do.

    In the west, politicians think roughly until the next election and that's it.
    The 3rd world countries either don't care or are so unstable that anything that hurts now in order to get a big pay-off tomorrow means the end of the current regime.
    And China, India, Brazil, etc. are growing so fast that pretty much the same holds true, except that it's because of the growth dynamics and not political instability.

    So basically, we're heading for the wall. We know it. Nobody dares to grab the wheel because it means unbuckling your seat belt.

  • by Badaro (594482) on Tuesday December 13, 2011 @07:45AM (#38353608) Homepage

    An interesting explanation of what lead to this was posted by an user on Reddit [reddit.com]. (Disclaimer: I'm not from Canada, so I can't confirm/deny what that user said, but there's plenty of upvotes and comments from other canadians lending some credibility to his explanation.)

    "This is actually way more complicated than the one paragraph article makes it seem. To fully understand this, you have to know a little bit about Canadian politics. So now I'm going to talk a little bit about Canadian politics.

    By some measures, Canada is the most decentralized country in the world, barring absolute anarchies in Africa and all that shit. Power is divided between the Federal Government and the Provincial Governments in an entirely non-hierarchical manner; provinces and the Federal Government each have their own distinct spheres of influence, and the Federal government cannot tell a Provincial Government what to do within the provincial sphere any more than a province could give the Federal Government orders within the federal sphere of influence.

    Without getting into huge amounts of details about how power is divided, it's sufficient to say that much, if not all of the powers that would be required to enforce the Kyoto protocol are within the Provincial sphere of influence, however the Kyoto Protocol was signed by the Federal Government essentially unilaterally. So then the Federal Government has to try to bring the provinces on board with Kyoto, to avoid shirking international responsibilities, but it has no power to force the issue. So then, surprise surprise, some of the provinces dont feel like shooting their oil economies in the foot to play ball with a treaty that they never agreed to. Particularly Alberta, which is basically Canada's Texas, decided that the Federal Government had nothing big and scary enough up their sleeve to threaten them into compliance, so they decided they were not going to enforce the Kyoto Protocol internally at all, and the Federal Government could do absolutely nothing about it.

    So now it's in a position where it has to either severely cut carbon for every other province that's willing to play along or pay internationally for Alberta's decision to not give a shit. Yes that's right, the Federal government would have to pay for Alberta not meeting the pollution requirements. Not fair? Well then the Federal Government should have made sure people were on board with this before signing instead of bringing home an unpopular treaty it had no power to enforce. OR the Federal Government can drop out of the Kyoto Protocol, as it has done, learn from the mistake and make sure to get the approval of Provincial governments before signing the next environmental treaty that will undoubtedly come up.

    TL;DR: Canadian politics is hella complicated, and while no one likes pollution, Peter Kent is 100% right in the article: Signing Kyoto, especially in the way Canada signed it without enough internal support, was a mistake."

    • [The Canadian] Federal Government could do absolutely nothing about it.

      So I guess the Canadian Constitution doesn't have anything equivalent to the Elastic Clause or the Commerce Clause in the US Constitution? Lucky them...

  • Bad PR (Score:4, Interesting)

    by paiute (550198) on Tuesday December 13, 2011 @08:02AM (#38353678)
    It's going to be hard to convince any nation to sacrifice for air quality when China has smog as thick as peas soup over major cities and pretends it is not a problem (link goes to http://observers.france24.com/ [france24.com] article):

    http://tinyurl.com/85xkhka [tinyurl.com]
  • First Nation (Score:4, Insightful)

    by tverbeek (457094) on Tuesday December 13, 2011 @08:08AM (#38353700) Homepage

    Am I the only one who initially read the headline to mean that one of the Canadian First Nations (i.e. what USers call Native American tribes) had pulled out of the Kyoto Accord, and wondered when they became recognized for international relations?

  • Dear Harper (Score:4, Insightful)

    by hipp5 (1635263) on Tuesday December 13, 2011 @08:38AM (#38353830)

    Dear Stephen Harper:

    Fuck you.

    You've obviously decided my family (and every family in Canada) can afford the $3,800 we're putting toward the new F-35s [flightglobal.com]. But thank you, thank you, for saving me the money that would be wasted doing my part for the world.

    • Re:Dear Harper (Score:5, Insightful)

      by broken_chaos (1188549) on Tuesday December 13, 2011 @09:18AM (#38354112)

      I'd like to second the "Fuck you.", and also throw in the absurd "crime bill" that comes at a time when crime rates are their lowest in decades, and is still being pushed through, despite Texas Republicans writing an open letter saying, paraphrased, "that shit don't work".

      Fuck Harper, and the Conservatives. A majority with less than 40% of the popular vote? Maybe you should worry about pissing off the Canadian public just a little too much.

  • by aepervius (535155) on Tuesday December 13, 2011 @09:01AM (#38353970)
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tragedy_of_the_commons [wikipedia.org]

    In our case the commons resource is the amount of oil extracted and spent to generate CO2 in the atmosphere. Since you can bet all you want no nation will back off until they feel bitten in the ass, we are like lemmings deciding that they will not break before jumping off the cliff, if the other don't break either. I am sad for the children born today and tomorrow which will inherit from our gluttony and be left with their eye to cry (in 50, 100, 200 years take your pick).
  • Blame Obama (Score:4, Funny)

    by beefoot (2250164) on Tuesday December 13, 2011 @09:50AM (#38354380)
    This got to be Obama's fault. Didn't he meet Canadian prime minister just last week.
  • It is so over (Score:4, Insightful)

    by fredrated (639554) on Tuesday December 13, 2011 @10:04AM (#38354536) Journal

    you can now officially 'Kiss Your Ass Goodbye".

    So the triumph of emotion over logic is essentially complete. I was a fool to think it would be any other way.

    Stupidity: it's a renewable resource!

  • by tekrat (242117) on Tuesday December 13, 2011 @10:38AM (#38354880) Homepage Journal

    From the Summary: " including China and India "

    This has to be from an American news source. I was listening to Radio Japan (shortwave radio geek) last night when they also announced Canada's stance, but claimed last night that it was because China and the *United States* do not adhere to the accord, so it's pointless, because the two biggest polluters in the world are ignoring the treaty.

    Funny how the USA gets left out of the summary here. Hrmmm. Shades of 1984 when the news is changed to make your country seem not as bad as it actually is. I'd be suspicious of anything I read or hear from American news sources. Clearly there's substantial bias.

  • by DarthVain (724186) on Tuesday December 13, 2011 @04:24PM (#38360294)

    #1: I think it is funny that Peter Kent is our environmental minister. He is best known for being a business commentator for a TV show. How is this guy our minister of environment!

    #2: In Canada's defense the treaty makes no sense if the big guys aren't on board. I mean Canada is pretty brutal per capita, but we only have 30 million people. We are really small potatoes. Without countries like USA, China, India, Brazil, etc... what is the point?

    #3: We were at least part of the treaty at one point in time, unlike all the a fore mentioned countries (sort of, I know some are members, but are required to make no sacrifice, which is BS). Of course that is not to say we actually made a like of progress towards those targets during that time. If fact I wouldn't be awfully surprised if we had increased CO2 since then.

    #4: Yes this is about the tar sands. It is obvious. However as a government, they have to weigh the pros VS the cons. Yes this will increase CO2, and cause environmental trouble. However it would be a HUGE boon economically. The future of Canada for the next 50 years. It is understandably hard to throw that away. I think they have just proven they are willing to take a bit on the chin if it means keeping that advantage. This position is also made easier by the likes of the USA and China (which is funny as they called it preposterous!) Hell there is serious implications in that the USA certainly does not want us in it, and closing down the tar sands, which is really the only way they are going to have some independence from middle east energy issues. I wouldn't be surprised if there is a fairly weighty amount of pressure being applied by the USA to Canada to withdraw.

    Before you flame me all to bits, I consider myself on the left and an conservationist/environmentalist. I am merely a little more pragmatic than most.

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