The Liberal government in Canada, the hosts of the recent Montreal COP conference, has been defeated. A Conservative minority government has been elected. It will be approximately: Conservatives 122; Liberals 103; Bloc Quebecois 50; NDP (Socialist) 32; Independent (a Quebec radio shock jock) 1.
I’ve hardly ever discussed Kyoto on this blog although it’s the elephant in the room. Kyoto was not a big issue in the election. By nature, Canadians tend to want to do the “right thing” whatever that is. I would be surprised if the Conservatives changed Canadian direction on Kyoto. In fact, as soon as I write this down, it’s obvious that they won’t. The Liberals, Bloc Quebecois and NDP are all strongly pro-Kyoto and would almost certainly vote together against any change of direction with respect to Kyoto policy. About the only thing that the Conservatives could do is initiate new studies on the topic.
I will relapse momentarily from my avoidance of policy discussions and will probably regret this relapse. Impressionistically, Kyoto has struck me as either being too much or too little. If significant climate change is caused by anthropogenic CO2 emissions and this is a bad thing, then Kyoto is almost certainly far too little. If it’s a big big problem, then the Kyoto half-measures are probably counter-productive since they give people the illusion that they are doing something about climate change without really coming to grips with what’s needed to actually change CO2 levels..
Secondarily, the Kyoto carbon trading system (which was promoted by Enron) over-rewards countries that merely negotiated easier benchmarks, rather than ones that have dealt with the problem through actual conservation. In this respect, impressionistically, it seems to me that Canada, in its typical boy scout fashion, negotiated the most onerous Kyoto treaty obligations of any country in the world. We have a growing population unlike many European countries; we have a relatively low production of electricity from coal due to large nuclear and hydro baseloads and thus little (relatively) easy power conversions. I’m puzzled as to how the transfer of money to Russia to purchase carbon credits arising from economic collapse (rather than more responsible technologies) is a sensible response to the underlying questions.
Anyway, I strongly doubt that Canadian policy on Kyoto will change under the new government.