Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
My name is Bill Erasmus. I'm the regional chief for the Northwest Territories for the Assembly of First Nations, and I have the environment portfolio for the AFN.
I also have with me Stuart Wuttke, who is the head of our lands division at the Assembly of First Nations.
As you mentioned earlier, we have provided a copy of our full submission. Unfortunately, it hasn't been translated into French yet.
On behalf of the Assembly of First Nations, I'd like to give our presentation--I hope it's under 10 minutes--and then we'll be quite open to questions.
We'd like to thank the committee for accepting our request to make an intervention on the important subject of . First nations governments collectively are seeing tremendous impacts on the environment and natural resources as a result of air pollution and climate change.
At the outset we'd like to state that first nations people have much to offer Canada. First nations people continue to have a close relationship with the land. We repeatedly offer to share what we know of the environment, with the hope that our knowledge will assist others to improve the quality of life for all.
Canada requires better tools to monitor and prepare for changes to the environment. We believe that first nations can assist in this. In moving forward, it is necessary for governments to recognize first nations ownership of natural resources and wildlife as an integral component of aboriginal title. An important component of this is first nations obligations to protect the environment and fragile ecosystems on which all creatures depend.
On the Clean Air Act, our purpose in being here today, we are pleased to offer this committee our perspectives on it and required amendments. In our view, the government's plan to combat air pollution and global warming do not go far enough in the Clean Air Act.
Air pollution is a major issue for first nations people. There is no denying that the air we breathe is contaminated with harmful substances. The AFN disagrees with the removal of air pollutants and greenhouse gases from schedule 1 of CEPA and the placement of these substances into two new categories. It is our preference that greenhouse gases, pollutants, and other substances harmful to human health be listed on schedule 1 of CEPA.
should establish the authority to deal with sources of air pollution in one province or territory affecting others, and the act should consolidate under CEPA the regulatory authority over emissions and fuel economy for all types of vehicles and engines, including on-road and off-road cars and trucks, ships, aircraft, and railway locomotives.
On the issue of greenhouse gases and global warming, the Clean Air Act has to be greatly improved. Reducing smog to combat global warming is contrary to scientific research. In its present form, the Clean Air Act abandons Canada's international commitment under the Kyoto Protocol, as it contains no short-term targets and defers any meaningful action until 2050. In its present form, the Clean Air Act will result in increased emissions by the Canadian industrial sector for the next 43 years.
In our view, should be amended to implement targets set by the Kyoto Protocol. Bill C-30 should include a long-term target for reducing overall domestic greenhouse gas emissions to at least 80% below 1990 levels by 2050, as well as interim targets. Bill C-30 should require the federal government to introduce limits to greenhouse gases and pollution from industry by 2008. Last of all, Bill C-30 should permit the creation of a first nations carbon trading system.
On consultation, we'd now like to move away from universal commentary on to discuss first nations interest in the legislation.
Canada's “made in Canada” plan was developed without first nations involvement and does not include first nations governments in its commitment to working with all orders of government in Canada to meet clean air commitments.
We recommend that the legislative committee on establish an adequate consultative process on the Clean Air Act with first nations governments to ensure meaningful first nations involvement in the development of the legislation. In addition, the Clean Air Act should be amended to recognize first nations governments in decision-making fora related to the implementation of the legislation.
The principle of the participation of aboriginal governments in the implementation of CEPA is an important one. Fundamentally, first nations must be included in environmental decision-making. While the Clean Air Act contains provisions for consultation with aboriginal governments and/or peoples, it has been the experience of first nations that such consultation has been poorly executed. Before the Clean Air Act moves any further, the federal government should immediately, thoroughly, and properly consult with first nations governments, as the legislation may affect or have an impact on first nations interests and rights and/or their participation in the future implementation of CEPA.
Impacts to first nations communities. Air pollution and global warming will create a number of challenges for first nations governments and communities. There are transportation issues related to climate change that are unique to first nations, especially to isolated first nations. Changes in the winter season will have an adverse effect on the construction of winter roads that some first nations rely on for the transportation of goods and services. If winter roads are increasingly not an option, alternative methods of transportation, such as transportation by air, will be required.
The AFN recommends that the Clean Air Act legislate the federal government to work with the provinces and territories and each first nation government to establish clean transportation alternatives to first nations communities.
With respect to water, Mr. Chairman, first nations rely on bodies of water for many purposes, such as transportation, drinking water, recreation, harvesting, and agricultural activities. Air pollution, acid rain, and extreme weather events resulting from climate change threaten water quality for many first nations. The AFN recommends that Bill C-30 lead to the establishment of an arm's-length first nations water quality agency. This body would be responsible for independently facilitating and implementing actions to ensure water quality standards are met.
Air pollution and acid rain are major causes of property damage in first nations communities. As the climate changes, first nations homes that are move effective in energy conservation and that provide greater protection against extreme weather events are needed. The Clean Air Act should establish a five-year legislative program aimed at the recognition of first nations governments to advance and develop regulations and standards, along with providing the capacity and other resources to create and generate incentives.
Global warming is having an impact on first nations cultures, traditions, practices, and way of life. We are only beginning to think out possible impacts that threaten our societies. To assist first nations governments in preparing for climate change impacts, AFN recommends that the Clean Air Act establish the creation of a first nations traditional knowledge institution. The purpose and role of the institution would be to provide first nations governments and industry alternative solutions to address cumulative environmental damage as a result of air pollution and climate change.
Finally, first nations will need specific first nations adaptation programs in the future. Unlike other people in Canada, first nations are tied to their communities through treaties, land claims, and prior occupation. The complete relocation of our societies may not be possible.
The Clean Air Act should establish five-year legislative first nations adaptation programs specific to first nations communities. The AFN recommends that government consult with first nations communities and accommodate their needs within the programs.
Conclusion. Mr. Chairman, it is essential that the federal government recognize first nations jurisdictions and authorities. Government cannot continue to work in isolation, as first nations have a lot to offer. Together, we can develop sound environmental practices that are backed up with real accountability measures for the decisions we make.
We strongly encourage the legislative committee to adopt our recommendation to continue working with first nations people to ensure the sustainable development of our natural resources while protecting the environment for future generations to enjoy.
Thank you for this opportunity to present to you.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I've been asked to talk about climate change. I think we should note last week's publication of the IPCC's fourth report on climate change. It's clear that the scientists' message, in the form of this fourth IPCC report, is a stronger message than that of the 2001 report, the findings of which were already very significant with regard to human responsibility.
We now have a higher degree of certainty, a consensus that has never previously been seen and greater certainty. We're starting to be able to make regional predictions, across Canada in particular. We must note the work of the Ouranos Consortium and Prof. René Laprise of the Université du Québec à Montréal, who is a member of the IPCC and has provided an excellent forecast of what's awaiting us using the Canadian regional forecasts model.
The climate inertia factors have been much more clearly characterized. The measurements are more accurate, in particular for past climates. We have a better understanding of the mechanisms behind the climate changes we're witnessing. We have new research questions, and scientists are expressing a greater sense of urgency and requesting that concrete measures be taken.
In its fourth report, the IPCC is telling us, increasingly clearly, that human beings are responsible and that the developed countries, such as Canada, which has various sectors that produce greenhouse gases, are primarily responsible for this increase. The concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere has never been this high in 650,000 years, and the temperatures we're now experiencing are higher than in the past 1,300 years at least.
In addition, the rate of warming is partly masked by the effect of aerosols, and the warming observed from 1990 to 2005 was faster than the models predicted. We therefore have a high degree of scientific confidence in our forecasts. According to those forecasts, over the next two decades, there will be an increase equivalent to half of that observed during the 20th century, which makes the concerns of the previous speaker all the more critical. Temperatures are not rising evenly everywhere. They are rising twice as quickly in northern Canada, which is a major cause for concern. Similarly, the sea levels are rising. We are measuring the rise much more accurately and we realize that levels have risen in recent decades.
Let's talk about the issue of melting ice. The North is particularly important for Canada. The fact that the icefloes are melting could mean that the Arctic Ocean might be ice-free in summer as early as 2035. A rise in extreme temperatures is also forecast.
It must be understood that climate science can only provide warnings. Solutions must come from players at various levels. Governments must adopt more restrictive ground rules so that people can play by those rules. Moreover, industry is requesting that ground rules be established on a fairly long time horizon so it can justify the investment and decisions that have to be made today.
Industrial interests must introduce new technologies and new processes. They must be able to reduce their emissions by including the cost of carbon in their products so that cost is internalized.
Citizens, who ultimately make consumption decisions, must be informed, change their behaviour as consumers and electors and take preventive action. Climate change will affect citizens' health and safety in a very uneven and unpredictable way.
Since it ratified the Kyoto Protocol in 1997, Canada has not taken the necessary measures to discharge its responsibilities. The challenge for this planet between now and 2050 is to reduce annual CO2 emissions by 25 billion tonnes. Canada's effort will probably be in the order of 500 million tonnes a year. We have already exceeded our objective set at the time Kyoto was signed by 270 million tonnes. We are therefore lagging very far behind, and those are the figures for 2004 emissions. I can guarantee you with more than 90% certainty, that, in 2008, we will be at least 300 million tonnes above the objective set. And we still don't have clear ground rules! So we'll have to pick up the pace.
Consequently, Bill C-30 will have to address the causes of air pollution rather than merely its effects. In principle, in order to pick up the pace, we'll have to establish firm provincial targets, not just a pan-Canadian objective. It must be recognized that sources are different and the efficiency of measures is different as well. A wind farm in Quebec won't reduce greenhouse gases; a wind farm in New Brunswick might do it; a wind farm in Alberta will have a much greater impact on carbon intensity reduction than if it's installed in Ontario. We also have to be able to put a national carbon market in place as soon as possible, with a Canadian ceiling, not a reduction in carbon intensity. I'll be able to answer questions on carbon intensity later on.
We will have to levy a carbon tax that will be applicable to exports as well, as Norway has done, so that we can have revenue to purchase reductions in the international market and not to put our industries and population at a disadvantage. Currently, Canada should reduce its emissions by 10 tonnes per person in order to achieve its Kyoto objectives, which is a burden that we can't impose on Canadians in the current state of affairs.
A major research and technological development effort must also be funded, and funding must be guaranteed for at least 10 years and must be renewable. The horizon of the challenges facing us is 2050. The initial reductions are easy to achieve, but the ones that will come after that will demand a very great scientific and technological effort.
To send a very clear signal to consumers and citizens, automobile consumption should also be taxed progressively, because automobiles are over-equipment with an economic life of at least 10 years. Consequently, voluntary measures put in place by the previous government, and extended by the present government, together with the automotive industry, will not have any effect on emissions.
Disclosure of emissions in automotive advertising must also be made mandatory so that citizens are informed. I would even go as far as to say that the production of greenhouse gas emissions should appear in automobile sales contracts. We should also consider that we must stimulate field-based initiatives, but field-based initiatives that are not just festive. They must be documented and accounted for.
I hope all of you have read the “Summary for Policymakers”, published last week by the IPCC, which Mr. Villeneuve has spoken about. It certainly provides a profoundly disturbing overview of our current trajectory.
Mr. Villeneuve has also gone through the basic facts about Canada's performance in attempting to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, so I won't repeat what Mr. Villeneuve has said.
In essence, however, the task before us is one of substantial magnitude. Canada's emissions in 1990 were 599 million tonnes. Canada's Kyoto commitment to reduce to 6% below that level by 2012, as Mr. Villeneuve has said, is roughly a 300-million tonne reduction from projected levels. Our greenhouse gas emissions have instead risen by upwards of 27% between 1990 and 2004.
The first major point I want to make to the committee this morning is that we need to recognize that Canada cannot realistically meet our initial Kyoto target of 6% below 1990 levels by 2012.
Under Kyoto, there are basically two ways of meeting our target. Domestic reductions is one; purchasing international credits is the other.
To meet our Kyoto target through domestic reduction in emissions, Canada would need to reduce our emissions by about 7% per year for each of the next five years, reversing a trend of growth of about 2% per year.
To achieve that kind of a target through domestic reductions would require a rate of emissions decline unmatched by any modern nation in the history of the world, except those that have suffered economic collapse, such as Russia and the Ukraine.
The best example we have to emulate is Japan, which in the wake of the OPEC oil crisis became the world's most energy efficient nation. They did not come close to reducing their dependence on fossil fuels by 7% a year.
The second route available to us under Kyoto to fulfil our 1990 commitment of 6% is to purchase large volumes of international credits. While I support the concept of international credits where those Canadian investments would contribute to the development of renewable or zero-emission energy in developing nations, those kinds of credits are simply not available in the short term in anywhere near the volume that Canada would require.
The only credits available at this point in time in large volumes are hot air from countries like Russia and the Ukraine, which have endured economic collapse. Those hot air credits would be a bad investment for Canada, sending billions of dollars abroad for zero environmental benefit.
We need to come to terms with the fact that we will not meet our initial Kyoto target. We have denied, debated, and dithered for too long. But that does not mean turning our back on the Kyoto Protocol. The agreement has provisions for nations that missed their initial targets. Penalties will be applied to reduction targets in subsequent periods.
The Kyoto Protocol needs to be broadened, deepened, and strengthened, and Canada needs to play a constructive role in those international negotiations. But that is a subject for another day.
I want to mention the current government's proposal to use intensity-based targets. Intensity-based targets are inherently a fraudulent approach to climate change. They simply endorse and entrench the status quo, as business is consistently improving the efficiency with which they produce goods and services. The problem with an intensity-based approach is simply that it allows total emissions to continue rising, and total emissions are what we need to keep our eye on.
If you actually consider Canada's record over the past 17 years since 1990, which we all agree is not a good one on climate change, if you look at that through the lens of intensity, then it actually looks pretty good. GDP, which I'll use as a proxy for total economic output, went up 47% in Canada between 1990 and 2004. Canada's greenhouse gas emissions, as you know, rose 27% between 1990 and 2004.
It represents a 43% improvement in emissions intensity, which makes it sound like Canada is doing great and makes it look like the Liberal record on climate change is great. It's obviously not the case, and it underscores the importance of moving to absolute emissions targets immediately and not falling into the trap of intensity-based targets.
The real goal in terms of absolute emissions reductions is to achieve reductions of at least in the order of 80% by the middle of this century, by 2050. That goal should be explicitly placed in Bill , and the majority of my comments from now on will address the question of how Bill C-30 can assist Canada in meeting that goal.
The year 2050 may seem like a long way away, but the only way we can achieve a goal of 80% reduction is if we start laying the foundation now with good policies. When I say good policies, I mean policies that meet three basic tests: effectiveness, efficiency, and equity.
There is abundant evidence that the policies employed by the Canadian government to this point, relying largely on voluntary measures and subsidies, fail the effectiveness test. They have not produced significant reductions in emissions, so we must use stronger approaches, including economic disincentives and regulations, which leads me directly to Bill C-30.
Environmental laws like the Canadian Environmental Protection Act are like the toolbox, and then regulations, programs, fiscal instruments, etc., are the tools that actually do the work. When I read through Bill C-30, I see precious little in terms of new tools for addressing climate change. I'm left scratching my head about what it actually adds to the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, and I'm concerned that, for minimal benefits, the Clean Air Act creates substantial risks. As you know, greenhouse gases are already on the list of toxic substances, also known as schedule 1 of CEPA. This gives the Government of Canada fairly broad powers already to regulate greenhouse gas emissions under part 5 of the act.
The proposed clean air provisions, creating a new part 5.1 of CEPA dealing with air pollutants and greenhouse gases, by and large, simply duplicate the existing provisions of part 5. This not only wastes reams of paper, but in my opinion could pose a threat to the constitutional underpinnings of the Canadian Environmental Protection Act. Most of the changes, therefore, are not only unnecessary but undesirable.
I ask you, as you conduct your review of Bill C-30, to ask yourselves this question: What does this add to the Canadian Environmental Protection Act as it already exists? If the answer is nothing, then strike out the offending clauses.
There is one specific amendment that does need to be made to CEPA to add another critical tool to the toolkit, and that is specifically adding to the list of economic instruments authorized under part 11 of CEPA. The amendment I'm recommending is to authorize the federal government to use environmental taxes, specifically a carbon tax. The majority of experts and economists agree that the most effective and efficient means of addressing the market's failure to internalize greenhouse gas emissions is a carbon tax, a tax on the sale of fossil fuels based on their carbon content.
A tax that starts at a modest rate and increases gradually and predictably over time can establish incentives throughout the entire Canadian economy to reduce carbon dioxide emissions with minimal disruption to the economy. A carbon tax offers an opportunity to shift taxes away from activities that are good for society, like labour and investment, and shift those taxes onto activities that pose risks to society, like carbon dioxide emissions and the use of toxic chemicals.
Supporters of a carbon tax to address global warming are plentiful and span the political spectrum. Here are a handful of quick examples: Al Gore; Alan Greenspan, former chairman of the U.S. Federal Reserve Board; Joseph Stiglitz, Nobel Prize winner and former chief economist at the World Bank; James Rogers, chairman and CEO of Duke Energy; Nicholas Stern, author of the most comprehensive look at the economics of climate change on behalf of the U.K. government. There are some even more surprising proponents of a carbon tax: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research, a right-wing think tank; and last but not least, the Canadian public. A recent survey from Ipsos Reid shows that a majority of Canadians are favourable to a carbon tax, and, somewhat remarkably, Albertans are more favourable than most Canadians.
Carbon taxes offer numerous advantages. I'll list them quickly here, and I'm happy to answer questions about the details. Carbon taxes are comprehensive. They cover the entire economy. They are widely regarded as the most efficient policy approach. They're transparent. They're administratively simple and they're less likely to cause energy price volatility than a cap and trade system. As well, the revenues generated by a carbon tax could be returned to the public in various ways to ensure the tax is not a new tax but is revenue neutral. Finally, carbon taxes have a proven track record of success in Europe. In the brief that I will submit to you later this week, I'll include some specific recommendations for amendments to the Canadian Environmental Protection Act to authorize the use of environmental taxes such as a carbon tax.
The two main objections that are often raised to carbon taxes are their regressive nature, regarding the fact that lower-income households spend a larger proportion of their income on energy. That can be addressed in the way the tax is designed.
The other objection is on grounds of competitiveness. I note that the four top nations in the World Economic Forum's rankings of economic competitiveness this year have carbon taxes, and all of those nations ranked ahead of Canada on the competitiveness scale.
Norway is perhaps the most instructive case from a Canadian perspective, because Norway is a major oil and gas producer. Norway implemented a carbon tax in the early 1990s and has seen its economy grow by roughly the same amount as Canada's, but Norway's greenhouse gas emissions are up only 4%.
Interestingly, the imposition of a carbon tax in Norway contributed to the development of new carbon capture and storage technology, also known as carbon sequestration. Norwegian natural gas producers are capturing carbon dioxide from Wales and the North Sea and re-injecting it into deep saline aquifers at a rate of millions of tonnes annually, saving themselves roughly $150,000 a day in Norwegian carbon taxes.
I'm running out of time, so I want to make several other brief comments. I know that a cap and trade system for large final emitters is under consideration. Although those have been successful in the United States in dealing with acid rain, you need to recognize that the European cap and trade system is a mess, because governments allocated more permits than emissions. So those permits are fast becoming worthless.
One of the world's leading economists in the field of climate policy, Professor William Nordhaus of Yale University, wrote that “cheating will probably be pandemic in an emissions-trading system that involves large sums of money.” That's basically because there are information asymmetries, meaning that industry has knowledge about the availability of technology and the cost of implementing it that government simply does not have access to.
Another vitally important thing that is not really dealt with in is that Canada needs to invest aggressively in developing low carbon and zero carbon energy technologies.
Concluding on a couple of brief notes, regarding the provisions of that deal with the Motor Vehicle Fuel Consumption Standards Act, that law has been on the books for 25 years and should come immediately into force.
You should also know that in 2010, even if Canadian motor vehicle manufacturers comply with the current voluntary agreement, Canadian fuel efficiency will still lag behind Europe, Japan, Australia, California, and China—yes, China.
There's also much room for improvement in the last section of , dealing with the Energy Efficiency Act. I would recommend ensuring that Canadian standards meet or beat the highest levels in the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, the OECD; that the act be amended to provide for a mandatory review of standards every five years or so; and that there be mandatory elimination of the worst 10% of products in each product class, a precedent that was set with the prohibition of low-efficiency furnaces.
Thank you for your time and attention.
I look forward to your questions, and I would like to speak to you again about air pollution, if that opportunity arises.
It could well take less than 10 minutes.
Good morning, ladies and gentlemen.
I agree with most of the speeches I've heard this morning. I believe it's absolutely essential to send Canadians a signal by means of a carbon tax, a fuel tax. However, that signal must be proportionate, that is to say that the tax must be determined on the basis of energy efficiency and the life cycle of appliances, equipment and measures put in place. In other words, equipment or measures that have the lowest emissions rate should not be taxed, and those with the highest emissions rate, level or equivalent should be taxed at the highest rate in order to influence choices and inform Canadians of the best measures that should be put in place.
We may not be able to achieve the Kyoto objectives by the scheduled date, but the technologies and measures exist. Some measures are extremely effective in reducing greenhouse gas emissions, but can't be taken because they aren't cost-effective. Geothermics is a very promising example in this regard. It's a highly cost-effective measure, but it may take a little more time to become cost-effective than a natural gas furnace. If a tax were levied to make a natural gas furnace represent the effective cost paid by the consumer, that is the environmental cost and the overall costs of the device, the choice would be easier.
Since the economic factor is decisive in consumer choices, the fact that this tax is proportionate would encourage Canadians to make the most responsible choice in terms of greenhouse gas emissions. Furthermore, this measure would have an impact on the final major emitters, on the economy as a whole, but it's the citizen that will base choices on much more environmentally responsible technologies.
This also enables Canadians to react to climate change. You can't simply ask people to reduce overall greenhouse gas emissions without that having an impact on our choices. Levying a tax on carbon emissions and emissions related to the life cycle of every product and service that Canadians consume is, we think, the most effective way of achieving ambitious reduction objectives.
We must completely rule out measures based on emissions levels and emission intensities. In the case of atmospheric pollutants, it's absolute measures and ceilings that work and make it possible to meet what are considered acceptable pollution levels. The Association québécoise de lutte contre la pollution atmosphérique finds it hard to understand why a measure that is known to be effective in fighting air pollution couldn't be applied to greenhouse gas emissions, whereas this is clearly an issue these days. It is very important to mention that fact.
The message we're being sent is that we should make information available to Canadians so that they can make the best possible choices, by means of a carbon tax. Unfortunately, that's not the direction taken in the bill. We hope you'll base the regulations on energy efficiency in that sense.
All right, Mr. Chairman.
That's an extremely important question. Indeed, one of the reasons for Canada's failure is its desire to adopt an approach that's equal for everyone, on the ground that it's more equitable to be equal with players who are unequal.
We clearly have to ensure that a measure is effective. I'll simply cite the example of the former home insulation program. Cutting a tonne of greenhouse gases by reducing the number of kilowatt-hours used could cost the Ontario government about $5, the Alberta government about $3 and the Quebec government $700 to $800. Greenhouse gas emissions per kilowatt-hour in the energy generating system of those three provinces vary by a factor of 10, and even by a factor of 50, in the case of Alberta and Quebec.
Having made that observation, the regional approaches are clearly much more promising, since energy policies are set by the provinces, natural resources are managed by the provinces, and each of the provinces has a different system. That doesn't mean that there can't be exchanges or mutual assistance among the provinces.
I'll give you a very simple example of a purely hypothetical situation, but one that would be very effective. In Gaspé, in Quebec, they produce a lot of wind energy. That changes absolutely nothing in the amount of energy used in Quebec because, in its life cycle, wind energy produces a little more greenhouse gas than hydroelectric power. In principle, therefore, there are no gains to be achieved, in terms of greenhouse gas, by generating wind energy in Quebec.
However, if we built a transmission line to New Brunswick, a transmission line barely 50 kilometres long, and we closed the Belledune coal-fired station, we'd achieve gains in the order of two to three million tonnes of CO2 a year from the production of wind energy generated on the Gaspé site and used in the New Brunswick power grid.
These are facts that the present Canadian policy does not make it possible to use since, by focusing solely on reducing carbon intensity, it keeps in place all the old generation infrastructures and merely adds clean generation on top of them, which ultimately masks the actual situation.
We need an approach that includes aspects penalized by the tax, the benefits and effectiveness of which Mr. Boyd clearly explained, but also a project-centred approach that, in an exchange market, makes it possible to have the value of these projects recognized.
What we want is a real reduction in total emissions. Carbon intensity is simply an indicator. That indicator may make it possible to compare performance within a sector. For example, in the aluminum sector, we can compare two aluminum plants, with regard to greenhouse gas emissions, one relative to the other or relative to their emissions gains.
In this way, then, we establish reference scenarios. Overall carbon intensity for a country is moreover one measure that was included in Mr. Bush's policy in 2003, which Canada jumped on like a lowly imitator.
My first set of questions is to Chief Erasmus.
I'm from northern Alberta and I've been there since 1967, actually travelling up to Yellowknife. I've seen a change in many things in the north since my time there.
You made some comments about and talked about Kyoto. I'm wondering if you'd change your mind if you heard a couple of things.
First, did you realize that the Clean Air Act, , regulates indoor air, which causes a lot of health problems to Canadians? It actually regulates stoves and fireplaces, which are very important to aboriginal communities in my area, because of course right now there's no way to regulate the quality of air that comes out of those, and that causes a lot of health problems. Most reserves have that kind of heating, at least partially.
Air pollution now includes smog and acid rain—which wasn't included under Kyoto—and not just climate change. Under there will be a national environmental monitoring system to monitor air we breath wherever we may be, in the north or different areas. That air, of course, changes dramatically with wind patterns from plant sites, and all over Canada from industries. It will not just monitor, but will also research and publish that information for the Canadian public. It also includes the ability to monitor air and human bodies to see what kinds of toxins we've taken in.
also requires large final emitters to have a pollution prevention plan on greenhouse gases, also on air pollutants and toxic substances, which of course are not included in Kyoto, which has no reference at all to the problems to human health that result from consumption of bad particles in the air. It also allows government to regulate the blending of fuels so we can have more efficient vehicles, and the fuel components, which of course Kyoto does nothing for.
Kyoto does nothing to address clean or healthy air. I think that's my main point, that does that. It helps Canadians wherever they may be, because we're a vast country.
Indeed, I know you weren't at the testimony yesterday, but you mentioned the short-term targets. We heard yesterday from government officials that indeed the short- and medium-term targets were going to be set in the regulations, and that we're going to be able to address those. The long-term target was dealt with in the Clean Air Act, but we are going to have short- and medium-term targets that are going to be regulated, and regulated efficiently.
I'm wondering if you would change your mind if you understood the impact to your own people and to all Canadians from coast to coast on clean and healthy air.