By Eric Fung
As one audience member put it, this was “replacing provincial propaganda with federal facts.”
The evening of Wed., Oct. 16, Federal Minister of the Environment Honourable David Anderson delivered a talk entitled “Why Canada should ratify Kyoto,” part of a six-lecture series put on by the University of Calgary. He highlighted the fact that any action taken with respect to the Kyoto Protocol will be made entirely with Canada in mind.
“The question is how, not if we should respond,” Anderson said. “This will be a made-in-Canada plan. We will take actions that best fit our needs to make a truly Canadian solution. We need a coordinated international approach and firm limits.”
The ultimate reason Canada should ratify Kyoto is because climate change is a global challenge necessitating a global solution, he said.
“The atmosphere is a common resource,” Anderson explained. “Canada is vulnerable to these changes and we need to put in the effort.”
Anderson addressed the concerns of many citizens by explaining the economic reasoning behind Kyoto’s ratification. According predictions, he said, there will only be a reduction of 60,000 jobs created by 2010 if Canada goes along with Kyoto. This represents a minute fraction of our country’s GDP. However, this is not the only economic consideration.
“Cost is a function of both price and value,” Anderson emphasized. “Kyoto will reduce the cost of environmental solutions, especially in Nunavut and the Northwest Territories. It will reduce the cost of health care by decreasing the number of respiratory disorders. Canadians don’t see things in theoretical economic terms, we see in terms of the values of Canadians.”
Historically, Anderson demonstrated, the best solutions have been those keeping Canada’s future interests in mind.
“We were told that preventing acid rain and removing lead from gasoline would be at an incredible cost,” he said. “However, we balanced this with our values. Listening to our values proved to be the best solution.”
For more information on the lecture series, see www.ucalgary.ca/kyoto/index.htm