Maple Leaf Rag
A BBC article about Canada's role in the climate treaty, reports, "The reality is that unlike other international agreements such as the WTO, the Kyoto Protocol contains no meaningful sanctions." So, if a country misses its target the first go-round (2008-2012), the only consequence is "a stiffer target the next time around."
Canada is almost certain to miss its 2012 target; namely, emissions reductions six percent below 1990 levels. Currently, the country is belching out 20 percent more greenhouse gas than it was in 1990. Groan. Spain, Finland, and New Zealand are also 25 percent off target. In a graphic charting the five best and worst performers, the leaders are all former Soviet states: The Baltics, Ukraine, Bulgaria. Canada doesn't even make the top five worst performers.
So why pick on Canada? Well, because the country was instrumental in saving Kyoto and getting it ratified. But that was under the outgoing Liberal government. The situation has changed with the ascendancy of the Conservative party, which never liked the treaty in the first place. If Canada ignores its targets, the article's author wonders, then what's to keep other countries from abandoning theirs?
Meanwhile, a glance at other climate stories in the news is disheartening: Ice cores show C02 levels higher than they have been in 650,000 years, and the global rise in sea levels is accelerating. As Canadian Environment Minister Stephane Dion says: climate change remains "the worst ecological threat humanity has been faced with." One way or another, it will have to be confronted...
...before it's too late.