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The Kyoto Accord was an international treaty signed in 1997 at a climate change convention to fight global warming. Our commitment to the Kyoto Accord took the form of a pledge to reduce Canada’s carbon emissions by the year 2012 to 560 megatonnes, which would have been 6% lower than our emissions in 1990.
In the past, Canada has enjoyed a reputation in the world as a nice guy, working towards the goals of human betterment and world peace from a base of a just and progressive society. But Canada’s status has been undergoing a massive downgrade, due to our policy of rapid growth and reckless exploitation of our natural resources.
William Ruddiman, author of Plows, Plagues & Petroleum, jokingly referred to Canada as “the new bad boys.” Yvo de Boer, former executive secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, blasted Canada’s double speak. In 2008, Al Gore called Canada’s carbon performance a fraud.
By 2012 Canada’s annual emissions were running at a rate of 702 megatonnes – 25% higher than our Kyoto target – making Canada’s record the second worst of the Accord’s 58 signatories, just ahead of Saudi Arabia.
And while many European nations expect to achieve 40% cuts by 2020, Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions will continue to soar to 60% over the 1990 level.
Where is this growth in emissions coming from? The Alberta oil sands carbon emissions definitely play a role, but it is mass immigration that is the major contributor – responsible for 2 to 3 times more emissions than the oil sands.
More people means more fossil fuel consumption. Human-generated carbon emissions are a major driver of climate change and are the focus of intense concern around the world.
With scores of square kilometers of open pit mines and tailing ponds, the oil sands has greater visual impact than the suburbs, highways, offices and malls spawned by the immigrant influx. Yet urban structures require a great deal of resources and energy to build and a great deal of energy to run.
No commitment to conservation can counter the effects of continued population growth and increased consumption of resources. Our international commitment to fight climate change will be trumped by our national commitment to growth at any cost.