Colleagues, welcome to this meeting of the House of Commons Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development.
This meeting has been called pursuant to Standing Order 108(2) on the study of Canada's position in advance of the United Nations Climate Change Conference to be held in Bali next week.
First of all, I want to welcome our witnesses today, and I'm going to introduce them. From the International Institute for Sustainable Development, we have John Drexhage, who is the director of climate change and energy. From the Greenhouse Emissions Management Consortium, we have Aldyen Donnelly, the president. From the Pembina Institute, we have Matthew Bramley, the director of climate change. And from the Canadian Youth Climate Coalition, we have Barbara Hayes, national director.
Welcome to you all, and thank you for coming here today.
I propose that we start by allowing each presenter seven minutes. The time normally allowed is 10 minutes, but, in view of the fact that we have four guests, that would take 40 minutes.
Do you agree that each person should have seven minutes to make his or her presentation? Is that acceptable? Yes?
An hon. member: Can you explain that again, please?
The Vice-Chair (Hon. Geoff Regan): Yes, I will.
The clerk has suggested to me that we ask the speakers to take seven minutes each for their presentations, allowing, therefore, more time for questions and answers. Normally we would do 10 minutes, and of course that could take 40 minutes with four speakers. So that's why this has been proposed to me, but only if it's acceptable to members of the committee.
Is that okay? Fine.
Then I'll ask each of you to make a presentation, if you would. We'll let you know when we're close to seven minutes and give you a little bit of warning.
Why don't we start with Ms. Donnelly.
First of all, thank you for inviting me to comment on the role that Canadian negotiators might play in the upcoming meeting in Bali.
I want to state my support for Prime Minister Harper's position, at least as I understand it, that the world does not need another international protocol that binds only a minority of the world's emitters to absolute greenhouse gas emission caps. I don't think the question is whether we need an international treaty on climate change--we do--the question is what shape the next generation of the Kyoto Protocol must take to address this global crisis.
I'd like to look to history to answer this question. All nations, developed and developing, have previously accepted, and so far complied with, binding national obligations to eliminate whole product lines and industries in a process designed to address a global environmental disaster. They did this to stop the erosion of the ozone layer under the international treaty construct known as the Montreal Protocol. The developed nations accepted the obligation to act first, as the developing nations have asked us to do in the greenhouse gas context. Developing nations agreed to binding targets without the promise of hot air credits, which is one of our stumbling blocks right now in the Kyoto context. As far as I know, all the parties have complied with their commitments under the Montreal Protocol, in spite of the fact that in the 1980s, when all the parties signed on, its driving objective was 70 years into the future. The Montreal Protocol belies the assertion that having a long-term target is an impossible objective to work with.
In the media and elsewhere, we periodically hear the Kyoto Protocol described as similar to, or modelled on, the Montreal Protocol. This characterization of the Kyoto Protocol is dangerously inaccurate. Structurally and procedurally, the two treaties could not be more different. If I were allowed to offer only one piece of guidance to Canada's negotiators, it would be to study the Montreal Protocol and figure out why it has been effective. I think the reasons for its effectiveness jump off the pages if you stare at them long enough. You should develop greenhouse gas equivalents of the essential elements of the Montreal Protocol and then pull every trick out of your negotiator handbook to encourage the parties to the Kyoto Protocol to entertain inclusion of these strategies in the Kyoto toolbox. The Montreal Protocol does not impose a quota-based supply management system on the parties.
The Kyoto negotiators have introduced elements of the U.S. acid rain program into the Kyoto construct, which elements do not appear in the Montreal Protocol. I think that's proving to be one of the great structural issues in the Kyoto Protocol. We may or may not talk more about that in your question period.
One primary reason that the Montreal Protocol has been so successful is because it directly creates demand for new sustainable products by regulating the sale—I underline sale—of the production of substances that on consumption create ozone-depleting gases. The drafters of the Montreal Protocol somehow understood that their primary objective had to put a global mechanism in place that would facilitate an orderly but highly accelerated capital stock turnover in the industries they were trying to affect. Meanwhile, in Kyoto, we keep going to meetings where people talk about trying to build the protocol around the existing capital stock turnover rate. The objective should be to implement actions that accelerate the stock turnover rate.
The key that the Kyoto negotiators need to shift to is easiest to illustrate with the ultra-low sulphur diesel regulation that was passed across North America last year. Last year, all over North America, we passed regulations that had a number of elements. The key elements were these. The first element says that after a certain date, which was last fall, you cannot sell high-sulphur diesel in North America. The second element says that after a certain date, which was four months prior to that date last year, you may not make high-sulphur diesel in North America.
With the Kyoto construct, in every domestic emission regulation that has been proposed in Canada to date, we have been saying to industry, “We're going to make you phase out the making of it, but we're not giving you the security of a prohibition on the sale of high greenhouse gas products.”
Every attempt we've made in the past that was successful at managing products out of our value chain started with regulating what can be sold, and only by first regulating what can be sold can we create the foundation that enables us to regulate what can be made.
If we, in our sulphur diesel regulation had said we're going to tell you that you can't make a high-sulphur diesel in Canada anymore, but we're not going to make any statement about what can be sold here, then all the refiners would have shut down their plants and supplied high-sulphur diesel into Canada from offshore. The fact is, when we gave them the protection of a made market for low-sulphur diesel, the average refiner spent $500 million per plant upgrading and retooling to make the more environmentally sustainable product.
I think it's essential that our negotiators go to Kyoto and, starting with the existing Kyoto construct, ask how we start to build the 10 essential product standards that make the market for the new products we want to see developed in our country and globally.
I'll stop there for now.
Thank you very much, Chair.
I appreciate the opportunity to speak to members of the committee on the upcoming international negotiations on climate change at Bali.
First of all, while I'm aware that you heard from some eminent experts on the results of the IPCC's fourth assessment report last week, I would like to highlight some of the conclusions that are particularly relevant to the UN negotiations. It is also important to keep in mind the kind of role the IPCC played in the history of these negotiations. The first assessment report set the stage for the Framework Convention on Climate Change; the second report provided critical momentum towards the development of the Kyoto Protocol; and the third was released just prior to the protocol coming into force.
What specifically does the fourth assessment report contribute? In my view, some of the more critical conclusions are the following.
Evidence of global warming is now deemed as unequivocal.
The contribution of human activities to climate change is now deemed as 90% certain. This colossal environmental phenomenon is already deemed to have irreversible impacts under a 1.5-degree to 2.5-degree change. We're already locked into that sort of change. We're looking at global species at risk of 20% to 30%. Under a 3.5-degree change, which will require some very serious work on our part to keep it there, we're talking about 40% to 70% of our species being at risk. At risk of what? Extinction. We're not just talking about the plight of a few cute animals here. This has grave implications for human well-being. The vast majority of our crops depend on pollinators for germination. Microbes play a critical role in ensuring safe drinking water. Disrupt these ecological systems and you run the real risk of upsetting basic food chains that we all rely on.
Despite these grim conclusions, the report also states that there are many affordable actions available to reverse current emission trends, but that the price we place on carbon emissions will play a critical role in determining their range and depth.
The magnitude of the challenge we face in reducing our emissions is underscored by a recently released study by the International Energy Agency in its World Energy Outlook 2007. In particular, the expected rate of growth in developing country giants, particularly China and India, presents a challenge, the scale of which we have never faced. China will have become the world's number one greenhouse gas emitter this year. As little as five years ago we didn't think that would happen until 2020. India will be the third largest by 2015. To give you an idea of what I am talking about, from now to 2030, China is forecasted to install more electricity-generating capacity than currently exists in the United States. This is due to phenomenal economic growth taking place there, but it must be recognized that this is entirely justifiable. Fully 400 million people, for example, in India still do not have direct access to electricity.
Despite this growth, per capita emissions in those countries pale in comparison with North America. In that respect, Canada and the U.S., along with Australia, are in a completely different league from the rest of the world, with at least two times more emissions per capita than Europeans, four times the rate of those in China, and at least a full five to six times more than the average Indian.
The fourth assessment report also examined the effectiveness of the current international regime in addressing climate change. It rightly, in my view, concludes that the Kyoto Protocol played a critical role in laying the basis for a global response to the real threat of climate change. When it comes to the Kyoto Protocol, everyone's attention, particularly at the political level and with the media, is on the issue of targets.
Unfortunately, this tends to take away attention from where the protocol's real contribution lies. It placed a value on carbon and, by doing so, initiated a rapidly growing financial portfolio supporting clean energy investments worldwide from $27.5 billion U.S. in 2004 to over $100 billion U.S. this year, with a percentage increase in the hundreds. It established a set of rules and guidelines around climate change that frame the institutional accounting of greenhouse gas emissions, and it also stimulated a vast array of national responses to climate change in developing and developed countries, including in countries such as the United States and Australia, which did not choose to ratify the protocol.
What do all these lessons mean for Bali? It is clear that we simply cannot meet the environmental imperative of avoiding human interference with the globe's climate system without engaging all major emitters, but the lead must lie with developed countries who are most responsible for the current greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere and who, because of their relatively stable and prosperous social and economic conditions, are most able to take more aggressive actions.
In my view, this is particularly the case for North America, which, in terms of greenhouse gas emissions per capita, can accurately be described as a pariah when compared with the rest of the world. However, it also means that the terms set out in the Berlin mandate, which established the framework for the Kyoto Protocol negotiations some 12 years ago, are not set in stone. In particular, we cannot have a provision in a Bali mandate that reaffirms no additional commitments for developing countries. That said, this should not stop this government from agreeing to terms that require developed countries to take the lead in taking on binding, more stringent reduction commitments.
In fact, I would like to remind this committee that Canada, like all other Kyoto parties, has already accepted such conditions in a set of negotiations in which it is currently engaged. I am referring to the ad hoc working group on further commitments for annex one parties under the Kyoto Protocol. The negotiating process was launched at the Montreal conference two years ago and has been going on since then with, I stress, active Canadian government participation.
In the context of the Bali mandate, what is important is keeping the door open to include all major emitters. What I am proposing would provide the Canadian government with the space to precisely continue such discussions over the next two years.
As Aldyen has already mentioned, remember the real achievement of the Montreal Protocol. It successfully achieved commitments on the part of all our parties, but under a graduated scheme, giving developing countries ample time to adjust to these new global environmental prerogatives.
Why were parties able to be successful? First, developed countries not only took the lead in taking on commitments, but they also met and exceeded those targets. Secondly, and as important, if not more--which Aldyen didn't mention--is the success of the Montreal Protocol's multilateral fund in establishing a transparent and effective financing mechanism to help developing countries meet their commitments.
I would suggest we have much to learn from that Montreal Protocol experience. We have to show that Canada and all developed countries are putting serious regulatory frameworks and market signals in place. It also means that governments have to become more focused on how Canada can play its part in helping developing countries make the urgent and necessary transitions they will need to make in the face of climate change, both with respect to mitigation and adaptation.
The Vice-Chair (Hon. Geoff Regan): You have one more minute.
Mr. John Drexhage: We need to look at the strategies of the World Bank and other major aid agencies in how they're integrating climate change.
One final word. Keep in mind the relatively modest objective of the Bali mandate. We are talking about setting in motion a negotiating process for post-2012 that will, hopefully, be concluded in 2009, and it's important to demonstrate flexibility in that spirit.
The committee may not be aware, but Canadian youth have had an impressive if informal history with the UN negotiations. From five youth at COP-6 in The Hague to the current youth delegation to Bali of 32, complete with logo, the Canadian youth movement, and indeed youth globally, has long recognized the importance of making the negotiations comprehensible and accessible to youth.
The reason youth have been so active is that although we are the largest effective constituency, we are not party to the UN negotiations. Spanning all countries, all emitters large and small, youth are inheriting a changed climate they haven't created.
Approximately 20% of the Canadian population is under the age of 18 and has no voting rights and no representation either domestically or as part of the international process. If a real negotiating mandate, including absolute targets and hard caps, is not achieved coming out of Bali, then these youth must shortly be counted among the growing number of people directly affected by projected climate impacts.
You do not have the right to make this decision for us. You must hear us. We are not given a say in this matter, so we are taking the microphone anyway. A year ago, at the age of 22, I helped to found the Canadian Youth Climate Coalition because with the levels of climate change we have already caused, I will spend the rest of my life dealing with adaptation and mitigation to a changed climate. It's a given.
The Canada of my adulthood will be fundamentally different from the current one as a result of global emissions. I do this work now as a young person because I don't want the global climate to be my daily concern when I am 40. My generation deserves a stable climate, and we deserve some peace of mind.
Ours is a future of fewer possibilities if Canada does not embrace and vigorously work to reach mandatory hard caps. My generation needs progress at the Bali negotiations to ensure that we have the opportunity to be participants in a strong and vibrant Canada.
My current view of the future holds fewer cultural and economic possibilities, the rapid spread of new diseases, increased incidents of extreme weather events, destabilized global politics, and hundreds of thousands of displaced persons.
Since the government has abandoned our Kyoto targets, we can no longer trust that our leaders are acting with our best interests at heart. We are now accustomed to being ashamed of our country's poor behaviour. The obstructionism we saw at the Commonwealth meeting is sadly no longer surprising. Canadian youth were present at the UN climate meetings in New York, Bonn, and Vienna this summer. We watched our government betray our future and our good name simultaneously.
It is unbelievable that hiding behind developing nations and watering down international commitments is being characterized as strong foreign policy. Undermining a clear, necessary, and internationally agreed upon treaty in favour of vague aspirational goals is frankly a failure of leadership.
The goals, even the legislative tools, are here, and still the government refuses to act. Watching the government try to wiggle out of the Kyoto implementation act has been gut-wrenching--
The first step to reducing our emissions is actually to attempt to reduce our emissions. In order to reduce our emissions by the amount necessary, Bali must lead to a plan with firm reduction goals, strict penalties for violators, and a clearcut deadline for these changes.
We are not saying this is an easy task, but we are saying it is both necessary and achievable. It can't be the economic argument that prevents the government from taking action. It is a false and frankly increasingly dishonest choice. The Stern report on climate change estimated the global cost of runaway climate change could surmount the cost of the two world wars combined, crippling global GDP by 20%. He further estimated that acting to avoid the worst impacts of climate change would be only 1% to 3% of global GDP.
The longer you wait, the more it will cost us, and the less likely we are to adjust in time for Canada's industrial sector to take leadership. So to the current government's legacy of global destabilization and health crises and ecological devastation, you must add crippling economic depression.
Climate change is not just an environmental issue. When farmers' crops fail from unnatural droughts, it is a livelihood issue. When our grandparents die from heat waves, it is a health issue. When the animals people traditionally hunt are no longer there, this is a survival issue. When failing to act opens up the Northwest Passage, this is a sovereignty issue. When children can no longer play hockey on outdoor rinks, this is a cultural issue. When I lose my job because industry failed to adapt to a changing world, this is an economic issue.
These were the words of the 40 organizations that came together to address the leadership failure on climate change by forming the Canadian Youth Climate Coalition. We are not being fooled by the doublespeak, and we are stepping up to let our leaders know that the words are not a substitute for action. In at least 20 cities across the country, big and small, people are mobilizing for the International Day of Climate Action on December 8 to protest our government's shameful inaction and demand a real mandate for Bali.
This government will not be around to be held accountable for the worst effects of climate change. But 30 years down the road, when Canada has become a haven for climate refugees, they will look to me and my peers, the current youth of our rich industrialized and polluting nation, and say, “Why did you let this happen?”
So I'm asking you now, “With everything we know and all the tools you have, why are you letting this happen?”
I hope everyone has received a copy of the submission we sent in a few days ago.
Before I get into substance, I would like to make clear that the Pembina Institute, which I'm representing today, is a strictly nonpartisan organization. We always try to comment fairly and objectively on policies and on policy proposals. We are often asked for input by politicians and by political parties, but we do not write documents that are published by political parties.
On the substance, the objective of the Bali conference--probably for the majority of the people involved and certainly the environmental community--is to adopt a negotiating mandate on a post-2012 global greenhouse gas reduction regime that will be negotiated with a deadline of 2009. It will include a series of elements that provide sufficient confidence that the world will be on a track to the scale of emission reductions that the scientific analysis has shown are needed to prevent dangerous climate change.
There are a number of key elements that the Climate Action Network International--which is the umbrella for environmental NGOs participating in the UN process--would like to see in the Bali mandate. I'm not going to list all those elements immediately. Most of them are in my submission.
I would note that they do include both stronger absolute emission reduction targets for industrialized countries such as Canada, but also deeper participation post-2012, including quantified commitments by rapidly developing countries such as China, India, and Brazil. These aren't absolute emission reduction targets of the kind that Canada should continue to have, but nonetheless, these are quantified commitments that represent a significant bending of the emissions curve relative to business as usual. I'll come back to that point in a moment.
Clearly, the Bali conference is extraordinarily important. We always say that these UN conferences are important. This one I think is a little bit unique. The scientific message that has been delivered this year in the IPCC's fourth assessment report, as John mentioned, is extraordinarily clear and concerning. I don't think this issue has ever had the public profile it enjoys at the moment. And frankly, time is running out for negotiations. The reason why 2009, as an end date, is so important for the Bali mandate is that we need to ensure that enough time is available for countries to ratify the post-2012 agreement once it's adopted.
It actually took I think eight years for the Kyoto Protocol to receive enough ratifications to enter into force. Three years between 2009 and 2012 is not very much time to allow that to happen, and we must avoid a vacuum in the international legal arrangements after 2012.
I'd also cite the UN Secretary-General, who recently, speaking of his expectations for Bali, said the following, and I quote:
I need a political answer. This is an emergency, and for emergency situations we need emergency action.
Moving on to Canada's position going into Bali, I'd like to highlight three ambiguities--certainly in the statements the government has made publicly--that I think are a concern and need to be resolved as quickly as possible.
First of all, the government has to date avoided taking a position on the question of a two degrees Celsius global warming limit relative to pre-industrial levels. This is a limit that enjoys wide support among both scientists and among governments. Today's United Nations development program report also endorsed a two degrees Celsius limit. I think the Government of Canada needs to state what it considers to be a maximum acceptable amount of global warming that would allow us to avoid dangerous human interference in the climate system, according to the objective of the UN framework convention.
A second ambiguity has to do with the global emission reductions that Canada wants to see. The Prime Minister has a number of times referred to a halving of global emissions by 2050, but the government has not to date stated a base year for those reductions. The reduction in emissions is, strictly speaking, meaningless if it is stated without saying a reduction below what.
A third ambiguity is a question that has been in the media the last couple of days: how global emission reductions should be shared out amongst categories of countries. As John emphasized, there are very wide disparities between different categories of countries.
If you compare a country like Canada with countries like China and India, if you look at per capita emissions, per capita GDP, historical responsibility, there are enormous disparities, roughly five times higher emissions per person, roughly five times higher GDP per person in Canada compared to a country like China. So, clearly, there's a need for Canada, going into these negotiations, to accept that it is not realistic or fair to insist that countries like China or India take on the same types of commitments in the immediate post-2012 period.
Thanks, Mr. Chairman. Thank you for coming, witnesses.
That was a good point to finish on, Mr. Bramley. I'd like to pick up on a couple of the points you've made. A few other folks have made these comments, but I want to preface my remarks, if I could, with this. We're going to have the minister join us on Thursday and present to this committee and to Canadians what we intend to do in Bali, because we have no idea. All we know is that the minister is holding a private briefing session and a meeting for some people in Bali to explore his “Turning the Corner” plan. I want to put to you, if I could, just a couple of concerns we have about the plan, which is going to be presented in the international setting.
Here is my first concern. Just today, the World Wildlife Fund, in a piece commissioned through the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research in the U.K., released a major report that absolutely slams the government's plan, saying there's no way it's going to achieve 20% cuts by 2020. In fact, the Government of Canada will be subsidizing the expansion of the oil sands.
The National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy, which has examined the government's plans, has said the government has likely overestimated the greenhouse gas reductions or did not provide enough evidence to allow the round table to perform an analysis.
The government's own National Energy Board concluded that the government's plan is insufficient to meet the targets it sets. In fact, says the National Energy Board and a whole bunch of independent commissioners there, under two of the three scenarios laid out by the board, greenhouse gas emissions will continue to rise--increase--under the government's plan.
Deutsche Bank has said Canada is failing to participate in the international trading market and has said we will not achieve our targets. The C.D. Howe Institute doesn't believe the numbers. Pembina has produced a report that says there are at least eight gaps in the plan. This has not been denied by senior officials in the three line departments with responsibility for delivering the plan.
We could go on and on.
Today the UNDP issued a clarion call for the planet. It said that a functioning atmosphere is probably a question of human rights. It said it is a matter of social justice, and the poorest of the poor will bear an inequitable amount of the pain and suffering that is forthcoming as we adapt to climate change.
All this while the Prime Minister says at international meetings that we're going to aspire sometime in the future to absolute cuts. The thing that's particularly egregious about that for me is that he said that in Uganda, in Africa, where I spent many years. In Uganda, the annual income is $300 per person.
I want to put to you, if we're going to Bali and we're going to be sitting down with Joe Lieberman and his colleagues, with their bipartisan bill in the Senate that is very aggressive--certainly more aggressive than the plan put forward here by the government--and if we're going to be sitting down with the United Nations, the Chinese, the Indians, and rapidly emerging economies who are overtaking us in terms of emissions, does anybody on this panel really believe we're well prepared to talk to these individuals with credibility about bringing them into the fold?
Lastly, didn't the Kyoto Protocol contemplate perfectly what's happening now, that we would take these 24 months, this two-year period starting in Bali, go to the table with cleaner hands, and say to the rapidly industrializing world that we went first? We're not playing a game of chicken. We had to go first. We built our economies on the back of the atmosphere and now we're coming to you and saying, post-2012, that it's time to sign up. Are we really now in a good position to sit down, with credibility, with these 169 partners? It will soon be 171, I think, with Australia signing on next week. We'll be alone with the Republican administration in Washington, which is on the way out the door anyway. Are we well prepared here to go and sit down with credibility, given that our own plan has been completely eviscerated domestically?
Mr. Bramley, can you start?
Yes, I agree that the rich countries should be going first and taking the lead. In fact, I really do wish that not only Canada but a number of other countries had been more aggressive in showing that leadership.
The problem we face right now.... I don't want to get into sort of different arguments about the extent to which Canada or any other country is credible. I would agree that if we had some kind of regulatory framework actually up and running for once, regardless of its stringency, that would be a nice first step of any kind. And that's my first concern. We continuously argue about what our target should be and how stringent we should be. That is all well and fine, and, yes, we need to become stringent, and a lot more quickly.
What has been so frustrating for me is the fact that there's been nothing yet put in place. I think that's the real danger. I mean, five or ten years ago I could see why we needed to start slowly, because we're talking about a huge intrusion into the economy. Let's face it, this is going to be a big shock. And we should, like the EU has done, have put in a nice mild system, some moderate allocations that would have helped to prime the pump.
The problem is that the fourth assessment report is reporting to us that time is running out. If, for example, as Matthew has indicated, we want the government to stay committed to a two degrees Celsius temperature change, we're talking about stabilizing global emissions in 15 years. There's no way you can reach two degrees Celsius without having China and India in that tent immediately, regardless. The atmosphere doesn't understand credibility; it doesn't understand equity.
I understand all these issues, and they're very important, and we have to take the lead on that, but at the same time, we have to keep in mind the very important environmental imperative.
The second thing I would point out is that while it recognized common but differentiated responsibilities, what I'm afraid may have happened under the Berlin mandate was an assumption by some of the developing countries, led by India, that provision 2 of article II, which states that developing countries will not take on any additional commitments, is set in stone. It can't be set in stone.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
First, welcome to the committee. I think we have to have this good discussion before leaving for Bali. Of course, we hope the government changes its mind and decides to invite the opposition. A diverse range of opinions should be expressed in Bali, particularly since there isn't a strong consensus against the Kyoto Protocol. A majority of the population support the Kyoto Protocol, and I think the Canadian delegation should be representative of that majority trend.
The report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change states that we should first stabilize our greenhouse gas emissions by 2015 if we want to avoid the worst. That is the first finding, and I think we agree on that. The second finding is that the two-degree policy, which would limit the average increase in temperature relative to the pre-industrial period, should be an objective, once again to avoid disaster.
The problem is how we should allocate the greenhouse gas reduction target both among the developing countries and among the industrialized countries. I was looking at the latest figures on per capita greenhouse gas emissions. I have those from China and from the United States. Per capita greenhouse gas emissions are approximately 20 tonnes in the United States compared to 2.3 tonnes in China. I believe they are approximately 25 tonnes in Canada.
As regards emissions and the historic contribution of the major regions of the world between 1990 and 2000, the United States and Europe alone total nearly 60% of emissions, compared to less than 8% for China. That said, that is not a reason for India and China not to act and for there not to be any reduction targets.
Doesn't the government's attitude in recent days, particularly that shown by the Prime Minister at the Commonwealth Summit, break a strong international consensus that there should be a common and differentiated approach in the fight against climate change? Without discussing the targets given to each of the countries, shouldn't the common and differentiated principles form the basis of the negotiations in Bali?
That's my first question.
I would argue that the answer is yes. The impasse we're facing right now is that many of us who have spent a long time in the Kyoto process are married to the objectives and the structure. In Bali, are you going to give up the objectives or the structure, because we're at an impasse and something has to give? We shouldn't give up on the objectives. We should strengthen the objectives, which means we have to look to a new structure.
In the Montreal Protocol we asked everyone in the world--developing nations--to bind to national emission limits. They said no, just like they're saying now. Somebody smart--one day someone will tell me who this person was, because I want to give credit where credit is due and I don't know how to do it--said, how do we get to the same outcome through an indirect method?
So the parties in the Montreal Protocol, including the developing nations, agreed to separate the question of the consumption of products that lead to ozone-depleting releases from the sale of those products and have two sets of reduction schedules, with each set being a phase-out of production and a phase-out of sales. They agreed to ask nations to focus on the products, the consumption of which creates emissions, and move from a focus on emissions to a focus on how we are managing trade in those products. That was the movement that broke the impasse at the Montreal Protocol.
But if we go to Bali and say we're not willing to make that kind of move here, we want you to come to the table and say yes to a cap, we're going to allocate quota, and we're going to screw you in the international trade in quota, they are not going to come. We won't get anywhere.
It's okay, we're a tolerant committee. Rather you than one of us, let's put it that way.
To pick up on a small point Mr. Drexhage made, I'm trying to understand, in terms of interpreting all this back for Canadians, what the significance of this particular UN meeting is about and the process we're engaged in, because I think Canadians have reached a rightfully cynical place when they hear politicians talking about climate change. Our past record and our future plans both breed quite a bit of cynicism within the Canadian public, and I think Ms. Hayes summed up some of that frustration very well.
In turning the question as much to the environment, but also to the economics, the fact that our government has chosen not to send our ministers of finance or trade to these significant meetings to talk about the economic questions that are going on here--which have huge and important economic bearing on Canadian businesses, some of which Ms. Donnelly represents--I find a real fault of leadership and a real lack of foresight as to what's coming, as to the impacts. Canada has no expenditures whatsoever, that we can find, to understand what the climate change impacts will be on our economy right now. Whether it's pipelines, mining operations, forestry, fishing, any of our traditional resource-based extraction processes, the Canadian government hasn't got a clue—hasn't got a clue—as to what a two-degree or four-degree rise in temperature might do.
We've talked about the question of leadership. Ms. Hayes, again, talked about the frustrations with failed leadership. If this process fails, the consequences for a middle power like Canada, which is essentially what we're talking about--how a middle power influences a larger conversation. The question of credibility comes first and foremost.
To start with Mr. Bramley, what can we rely on right now, in terms of influencing other countries, as we head into Bali? What do we have in our pocket that we can lay on the table and then influence somebody else to alter whatever course it is they're taking?
That's difficult to answer.
Clearly, there's a lot of concern about the attitude of the Government of Canada to our existing obligations under the first phase of Kyoto. The government has made clear that it's not going to attempt to comply.
Regulations will only be implemented in 2010, whereas Kyoto begins in 2008. The government doesn't want to put any money into the clean development mechanism, despite it being a valuable, important mechanism that counts toward meeting our Kyoto target.
So there's a lot of concern I think from other countries just on that single point.
The science is very clear about the kinds of emission reductions that will be needed from the developed countries if we're to have a chance, even only a chance, of staying within two degrees. Developed countries need to reduce their emissions by between 25% and 40% below the 1990 level by 2020, but Canada's target for 2020 is actually slightly above the 1990 level. So either we're saying it's okay to have much more global warming than two degrees or we're saying that because we're doing less, someone else is going to have to do more to compensate. It has to be one or the other.
If Canada specifically isn't willing to do it first, it wouldn't help the chances, that's for sure.
But I think the bigger question, to be absolutely honest, if we're going to deal with the global real world of realpolitik is whether the United States is going to be willing to take the lead and whether Canada will be a part of that, in consenting to do it, or not.
To be absolutely blunt about this, if at the end of the day Canada says, we're uncomfortable taking the lead without developing countries doing so, but the United States says it is, what is essentially going to happen is they're going to go ahead with it and say to Canada: you made that decision; you're outside of this process.
Canada, as part of the North American contribution to this, can play a critical role. I think it really needs to be accentuated, because it has to be much clearer about how it's planning to take that lead, how this 20% is going to be achieved. That all needs to be much further elaborated for them to have any kind of credibility.
Thank you so much, Mr. Chair.
Thank you to each of the witnesses for being here.
I did read the Pembina Institute handout, and I didn't see anything surprising there. Thank you for that. It was what I was expecting.
I want to correct one comment made by Mr. Bramley on CDMs. In fact, it is in the regulatory framework. CDMs are part of that.
I want to bring something to the committee's attention, and I'm sure you're all aware of it. Last Thursday we had panellists here from the IPCC. It was one of my colleagues, I believe it was Mr. Watson, who asked if the United States and Canada were to totally shut down, no more greenhouse gases coming from Canada, everything totally stopped, what would happen to greenhouse gas emissions globally; would they stabilize or would they continue to grow? The IPCC panellist said they would continue to grow. That highlighted to me the importance of having all major emitters as part of the solution.
They went on to say that this is why Canada and the United States need to create the technologies that will enable the rest of the world to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. That was encouraging.
Through the strong leadership of the and the at G-8, at APEC--and I would disagree with my Liberal colleagues who called it a sideshow--we need to find a way of getting all these major polluters involved in the solution. The metaphor the minister uses is that we are all rowing in the same direction.
My question is to Ms. Donnelly. There have been comments about the per capita greenhouse gas emissions. I was in Berlin at the G-8 plus 5. There were numerous countries represented there. We talked about deforestation. There were very complex issues. For example, a parliamentarian from India shared that there are 1,000 villages in India that do not have electricity yet. They're looking for the easiest and quickest way of providing electricity, so they're looking at burning coal in a generating plant. Now you have greenhouse gas emissions that are projected to increase in India, along with a lot of dangerous pollutants. But they need the electricity.
There were a lot of options that were discussed. But the EU was quite proud that they had lowered their greenhouse gas emissions per capita.
Could you and Mr. Drexhage share with us--we'll start with Ms. Donnelly--how Europe reduced their greenhouse gas emissions per capita.
I try to distinguish between what's happening within national boundaries and what I call a nation's or a people's greenhouse gas footprint. In 1990, if there are still only two countries in the world and they're energy self-sufficient and they have the same jobs and the same consumption patterns, they're the same. Then in 2000, if this nation now imports 50% of its energy and manufactured goods, and that nation exports the goods that this nation imports, then that nation's emissions are much higher than this nation's. But this nation's global greenhouse gas footprint is either the same as it used to be or higher, because goods that used to be made down the road are now being shipped across the world.
Between 1990 and 2005, Europe shifted from being a net fuel exporting region to being a net fuel importer. The U.K. is a net coal importer now, as are other countries. And over that period, EU-wide, with offshore manufacturing, they've had a net 34% loss of manufacturing jobs. If you actually look at the European inventories--European per capita transportation and fuel consumption per capita, greenhouse gases from transportation fuel consumption, per capita electricity consumption, greenhouse gases per unit of electricity consumed, per capita car purchases, per capita car use—on average, all have increased faster than Canada's have. So 100% of the differential between our trend and their trend derives from the fact that they have shifted from being energy self-sufficient and one of the leading manufactured goods exporting nations to being energy not self-sufficient and one of the leading manufactured goods importing regions.
The trouble in this whole context for Canada is, of course, that while Europe lost 34% of its manufacturing employment, Canada gained a net, almost, 17%. We've stabilized recently. Those differentials explain everything.
What's that got to do with anything? The fact is that if each of us as an end-user is consuming more, we haven't improved the atmospheric concentration of greenhouse gases just by shifting our manufacturing offshore. So if we went back to a Montreal Protocol-type construct, we would be accountable for the full fuel-cycle emissions associated with what we consume, regardless of where we get what we consume from. That's a Montreal Protocol-type structure. In that structure, Canada's per capita emissions would still be high--and absolutely, we need to do a lot of work--but our trend since 1990 would be better than all but three of the 25 EU member states.
It should be noted that we have the third-cleanest electricity grid in the world, and per unit of output, we are home to among the most efficient chemical and manufactured goods product manufacturers in the world.
So our challenge is to figure out how to do something that Europe simply has not achieved, which is to cut emissions and increase jobs.
There are people who have to be in this room, like Canada's labour pension funds.
That certainly is one of the real, significant achievements. I would, respectfully, not share all the same conclusions as to why the Montreal Protocol was a success.
I think the consumption part was more effectively addressed in the Montreal Protocol, but that's far and away not the only reason why it was a success. And with respect to the Kyoto Protocol and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, if you think you're going to now change around the entire regime for inventory and accounting of greenhouse gas emissions, you're really dreaming in la-la land. That's not going to happen. But should it be taken into account when Canada is deciding what sorts of reductions it should be looking at in the future? Yes, that's something that should be taken into account.
If I might, I really do have to respond to some of the European stuff, because Aldyen is making it sound as if Europe is some kind of dreary, dreadful place where there's no expanding economy. Plus, we have an incredibly poor currency going on there as well. Well, in fact, we know that the very opposite is happening, and it's made it a heck of a lot more competitive. The reason they did so had a lot to do with the energy crisis in the 1970s, and they smartened up. We haven't been pressed to smarten up in the same way, and we're going to pay the price for it, both in terms of the adjustments we have to make in adjusting to climate change and in terms of just growing up as an economy.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I would like to take the opportunity to hand the floor over to the young people, since they appear to form the majority of the audience. I'm going to put my question to Ms. Hayes.
In your presentation, you mentioned that, in future, you were going to have to adjust to certain conditions. Mr. Drexhage said that some species would disappear, that there would be a loss of plant and animal diversity, that new insects would appear, that there would be invasions, that the food chain would be altered, and so on.
I would like to know whether, in your opinion, the present government will achieve the target of 20% in 2020 that it has set for itself. Otherwise, do you have any proposals to make to your government so that target is reached? Lastly, what sacrifices is the young generation prepared to make in its standard of living in order to achieve that target?
Part of the previous government's plan, or the scheme, was to send these billions of dollars of hard-earned tax dollars overseas to purchase hot air credits, and we talked about that at previous meetings when some of you were present here, actually.
The intent, then, to meet the so-called Kyoto obligations by means of that, which really provided.... I think all of us were quite aware it was a bit of a shell game or a scam in that there was no environmental benefit to Canadians with that kind of a system.
I would like to ask Ms. Donnelly first, and then Mr. Drexhage as well, because of your areas of expertise in that: do you support emission credits abroad rather than investing those dollars here at home to improve the air Canadians breathe, as well as creating environmentally sustainable technologies? Then I have a follow-up question related to the big polluters like China and so on, if we have time at that point.
If I have a few more minutes, I have a graph before me. It was prepared by the Library of Parliament, and it goes back from 1971 through just a few years ago. At that point already, it showed that in terms of the megatonnes of carbon produced by, in this case, China compared to Canada, it was 25 or so times more than Canada's. This is going back to about 1971 through 2003.
And we know with all the major coal-fired plants that are coming on stream in China—there are quite a number being announced, some huge ones. My colleague here reminds me that in a few years we won't have enough paper to show the exponential growth in terms of carbon pollution in China in that period of time.
I think that reinforces the point of why we need these people onside. Whether a negotiating tactic or what, we need to actually push hard such that these people become involved, because yes, we can do our part and be an example and all those fine words, but we also need to have these people involved, because the air that I breathe, and my children and grandchildren breathe, is greatly affected by the streams coming from those parts of the world.
I'd just like quick responses on that. I think it's a decent starting point, in that without equivocation we need those people involved and we need to push them hard to that end.
My other point has to do with the government's approach. The narrative that seems to be developing over the last two years, going on to three years now, after January, is that we have a government that doesn't want to commit to anything. We have no regulatory regime on greenhouse gases. And there's been mention that we're going to have intensity-based targets, which is a slippery slope.
Then the Prime Minister goes to meetings and it makes for a good photo opportunity and good body language to say, “Look, we're not going to be pushed around by Communist China”, but there's no nuance here. There's no indication that there's a willingness to go ahead. He's not telling us what he expects from China and India. He's not saying, “Okay, we understand that we can't use the same approach with these countries, but maybe we could have a middle ground, where their targets would be maybe discounted at the beginning versus our targets”.
There is nothing to discuss. It's all a kind of gunslinger approach to show how tough Canada is in the international community, yet we don't have a regulatory regime here and time is marching on.
I'd just like your comment on that, Mr. Bramley.
I'd like to actually get back to a point, forgive me.
Mr. Cullen, you had a very interesting question, I thought, as far as what is it that Canada has in terms of leverage, what does it have in its quiver in the negotiations.
I read the speech that the Prime Minister made at the Council on Foreign Relations and at the UN, and he made an extremely interesting point, and this is that the real challenge that Kyoto hasn't altogether successfully faced is what do you do with growing economies?
It's one thing to have relatively stable economies that aren't as reliant on natural resources for their exports, but what do you do in the case of the growing economies? If you look at it in that context, and if Canada really does show some honest leadership and really try to tackle this problem, it can be a tremendous learning experience for the Chinas and Indias. If Alberta, with the kinds of resources and the kind of infrastructure it has in place, can't pull this off, how, in God's name, can we expect China and India to?
I understand that the Alberta minister, for example, is planning to come to Bali. They really want to try to be proactive. I want to support them in that because I desperately do think that it's the Albertas and it's those critical places in the developed world that are so reliant still on fossil fuels and natural resources for their economy, and how they can try to “square that circle”, which, by the way, is the name of our side event at Bali.... We're having Canada, China, India, and South Africa all talk about this challenge that faces us, and Canada has a real opportunity to be a leader there.
Thank you very much, Mr. Chair. I have a couple of quick questions.
Mr. Drexhage, you commented before about the electricity and the power and the capital stock. Also, Ms. Donnelly commented about that. What's interesting is that last week I got a chance to debate on the Donkin Coal Mine, which is a very, very good project.
Nova Scotia Power, of course, right now has four coal-burning plants, which burn about 2 million to 2.5 million tonnes of coal every year. Those plants represent about 50% of the electricity capacity in Nova Scotia, and they're relatively new. The province is making significant investments in SO2 and that type of thing--hundreds of millions of dollars.
What kinds of suggestions would you make for us, going into these, to ensure that, number one, we react to the significant lead time to replace this capital stock, and number two, that we don't create a stranded investment that will end up costing our ratepayers inordinately high power rates in this country?
I'll start with Mr. Drexhage.
Certainly in the discussions that are going on for the large final emitters system, one of the questions is what the default standard should be for new installations. I would say that anything more than a combined gas cycle would be unacceptable. You have to give industry the signal that at the very least we need a combined gas cycle value for new installations.
Frankly, I even prefer what B.C. has chosen to do, which is to say that the standard for all new installations is going to be carbon capture and storage. But I also want to be a bit realistic about this: at the very least, a combined gas cycle.
Secondly, in terms of looking at the stranded investment question, I was a little surprised by Aldyen's observations, and I'd like to take a look at her numbers, because if you actually look at the statement that came out from the Energy Council, which is a group of all energy associations, from the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers to the Canadian Electricity Association to the Canadian Wind Energy Association, they say that right now we're at an incredibly critical time in terms of capital stock turnover in the electrical industry. So, again, the kinds of decisions that are being made right now are really going to have impacts for at least the next 40 years, and we have to make sure that has some staying power.
Notwithstanding all that can happen within Canada, I would also agree that far and away our attention has to be focused on what's going on in Ohio and in some of these larger states. If you look at the grid—my colleague has a map on her wall of the power stations and the emissions that come therefrom—Canada is absolutely dwarfed by what's going on in the midwest. They recently signed an agreement. We really have to coordinate very strongly with them to make sure that is addressed quickly.
I just want to get on the record....
Ms. Donnelly, you were asked by my colleague about the Montreal Protocol. As I recollect, 80% of all the product produced at the time of the negotiation of the Montreal Protocol was produced by one company, DuPont. Many of the corporations you cited were wholly owned subsidiaries of DuPont. Many of the nation states that were engaged hosted wholly owned subsidiaries of DuPont, and the real driver for DuPont to take corrective action was corporate social responsibility and shareholder activism. I know, I sat on their board.
So I think it's important to be really clear about the success of the Montreal Protocol in its entirety.
Mr. Drexhage, you made some very compelling comments. Mr. Bramley also did. He talked about how we should be allocating the reduction of greenhouse gases. Should it be on a per capita basis? On a historical basis? Per unit of GDP?
Mr. Drexhage, you also said that even though the says we can all go but we can only go together, you made reference to the fact that we're already negotiating a contrary position under annex one. Can you help us understand what that meant?