The Kyoto Protocol has enormous implications on the greenhouse gas emissions scene in Canada and indeed all industrial countries. Its targets for reducing emissions has faced scepticism from both environmentalists who argue that it does not go far enough where as businesses and industry representatives complain over the enormous costs that will be endured in the process of achieving these targets.
This essay gives a short description and background to the Kyoto protocol in the Canadian context. It then focuses on the benefits and advantages of the Kyoto protocol to Canada while the last section focuses on the disadvantages and potentially negative impact of the Kyoto protocol in Canada.
Kyoto Protocol was signed in the Japanese city of Kyoto in the year 1997 between countries in order to decrease greenhouse emissions and counter climate change. The Protocol was signed a year later by Canada and formally ratified in late 2002 after a lengthy debate in the argument.
The Liberal government in charge decided to decrease greenhouse emissions in the country by 6% below what they were in 1990. This was designed to occur over five years between 2008 and 2012.
After the Conservative government came to power in early 2006, they called the Kyoto targets unrealistic as well as unachievable. In turn, the new government decided to focus on developing Canada’s own solutions to the problem, and decided to use the funds to improve the environment within Canada and not on global credits. It also decided to invest in the development of clean technologies.
The Kyoto Protocol calls for these actions to be undertaken by national governments:
Encourage Huge Final Emitter System
At the end of 2005 the government added greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide and methane to the list of toxic substances. This was done under the umbrella of Canadian Environmental Protection Act in turn opening the doors to regulation.
These regulations were published in 2006 as part of the Canada Gazette Part I and were followed by sector-specific greenhouse gas emissions targets. The deal was to decrease the total emissions by 45 mega tons in total.
The Kyoto Promote Renewable Energy:
This particular initiative offered the Wind Power Production Incentive as well as the Renewable Power Production Incentive. These initiatives included subsidy for producers of renewable energy of 1cent for ever Kwh of energy produced. These incentives were designed to decrease emissions by 15 mega tons in total.
Promote Partnership Fund
Designed to offer support to inter-government agreements, this fund offered cost sharing in order to sustain initiatives for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Cash was directed towards aiding the province of Ontario to close coal-fired power plants which were among the worst emitters.
This had the potential to offer 10% of the reductions promised as part of Canada’s Kyoto commitment of 6%. The Partnership Fund was also to offer financial support to Quebec for executing its own climate change plan and also to help other provinces in decreasing their own emissions. These initiatives have the potential to reduce anywhere between 55 and 85 mega tons of greenhouse emissions.
This initiative has as part of it the Ener Guide program for homes and residential estates. It also promotes incentives for motorists to adopt more energy efficiency practices.
As a result of the high success rate in the Ener Guide program, the government decided to channel in another $225 million in the program as part of budget in 2005 in order to increase 4 times the number of residential properties that had been retrofitted from 125,000 to half a million.
One more initiative that found a lot of success was EGLIH (Ener Guide for Low Income Households) which was started in 2006. This program was designed to pay the full cost for energy efficiency upgrades to those found to qualify as low-income households. These programs are expected to result in a net decrease of 40 mega tons over a period of 5 years.
Promote the One-Tonne Challenge
Designed as a public education program, it called for all Canadians to reduce their annual emissions of greenhouse gases from five tons to four tons. The exception for this program is to reduce emission by a total of 5 mega tons.
Promote the Climate Fund
This fund was set up to establish a permanent institution that would buy emissions reduction as well as removal credits on behalf of the federal government. The Climate Fund was to buy credits from domestic as well as international sources which were recognized as well as approved under the Kyoto Protocol. This program is expected to result in a net decrease of 75 to 115 mega tons in emissions.
Negative impact of Kyoto protocol
The federal government allocated a billion dollars in the year 2003 in order to phase in the Kyoto protocol and to reach the target of cutting emissions by eight percent of the total target. Compliance of the Kyoto agreement is administered by an institution called Environment Canada.
This particular agency funded close to a hundred and fifty million dollars or roughly eighteen percent of the annual allocation of $841 million. By employing this as the standard, the cost to administer the Kyoto agreement was put at 1.18 billion dollars and this was to be funded by collecting taxes.
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