Kyoto debate update

On May 15, 2002, a joint statement was issued by Environment Minister David Anderson and Natural Resources Minister Herb Dhaliwal on the release of the "Discussion Paper on Canada’s Contribution to Addressing Climate Change." The paper discusses Canada’s possible involvement in the Kyoto Protocol, which sets an international framework for greenhouse gas (GHG) reductions. The federal paper, which identifies a range of options and issues, is the result of the last Joint Meeting of Ministers of Environment and Energy (JMM).

On May 21 and 22, the provincial and territorial counterparts will meet in Charlottetown to express their views on these options. From June 7 to 21, the federal, provincial and territorial governments will host workshops in 14 cities across Canada to discuss these options with stakeholders and receive their input.

According to the statement, consultations are intended to help develop the best blend of actions that will achieve emission reduction targets, minimize costs to the economy, maximize economic and environmental benefits, encourage innovation, and provide flexibility to deal with uncertainties.

Critics such as Alberta Environment Minister Lorne Taylor say the discussion paper shows that proceeding with Kyoto is not feasible and will be too great an economic burden, especially for energy-rich provinces such as Alberta. Others argue that the GHG and cost calculations are flawed, and that popular climate change science is also questionable.

To read the discussion paper, visit