I am not usually reduced to such scatological rhetoric, but I have to be blunt: Stephen Harper is either lying about his government's commitment to the environment, or he doesn't know any better. Either way, he's hurting Canada.
Speaking at the Canada-German Business Club in Berlin, Harper said that his government would not meet the Kyoto protocol commitment, because doing so would cripple the Canadian economy. Canada has one of the fastest growing economies in the G8, as evidenced by its dollar nearly reaching par with the US dollar for the first time in more than thirty years.
According to the CBC, Harper "believes his government's plan for intensity-based targets to limit greenhouse gas emissions will be more effective than setting overall reduction targets." This is a lie. Intensity-based targets do not limit the overall production of greenhouse gases. They allow the indefinite increase in emissions as long as emissions fall relative to GDP or energy consumption.
What Environment Minister John Baird says is, "Canada's New Government will impose mandatory targets on industry, so that greenhouse gases come down and we achieve our goal of an absolute reduction of 150 megatonnes by 2020."
What he did is propose that existing facilities do not have to reduce their emissions at all, only demonstrate an intensity improvement of 6% a year. New facilities will have a three-year grace period. No absolute reductions need to be initiated during the Neoconservative Party's mandate.
Check-out the disinformation perpetrated on slide 8 of the government's linked presentation, "Clean-Air Regulatory Agenda." The slide is titled "Estimated Sector GHG [Greenhouse Gas] reductions in 2010." It allegedly lists the emissions reductions planned for 2010. What it actually lists is relative reductions in intensity compared to 2006, and absolute reductions compared to projections for 2010. No absolute reductions compared to 2006 are displayed because none are required.
Harper claimed that Canada "can be a world leader on climate change." Harper has only demonstrated leadership on how to forestall real change, obfuscate his agenda, and ignore science, critics, and his public. For nations interested in the same ends, Harper truly is leading the way.
I suggest you send a letter to Minister Baird expressing your disapproval of his 'actions' on the environment. Go to www.tarsandswatch.org and make your voice heard. They have a petition you can modify and mail. I added the following embellishment to mine:
"Canada is a widely respected member of the international community. Canada is quickly becoming notorious for its illegal breach of the Kyoto protocol it ratified, for being one of the top per capita GHG emitters in the world, and for its promotion of intensity-based emissions reductions. Mr Baird, you are contributing irreparable damage to Canada's reputation, and to the climate of our planet. Your actions are cowardly, and transparently subservient to the interests of industry and the US, rather than those of Canadians and the community of nations."