Canada, the Surprise ‘Pariah’ of the Kyoto Protocol
Of all the delegations in the room in Doha, the Canadians adopt the lowest profile. Some question whether they should be there at all: The country’s first and only Green party MP, Elizabeth May, said: “Having Canada in the room negotiating to weaken the second Kyoto, when we have already signalled that not only will we not be participating in taking on new targets in the second period but we’re legally withdrawn from the protocol, should make us pariahs.”
“I can’t imagine how anybody would want us in the room.”
Canada’s current greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions are 23% over the country’s Kyoto protocol target, and federal government estimates place Canada 28.8% over the target by 2014. Canada is the only country to have repudiated Kyoto, the sole legally binding international policy tool to date to deal with the emissions, and ranks just behind the US and Australia in the table of worst global emitters per capita.
This is because of Canada’s size, its cold climate and its resource-based economy, especially the energy-intensive, carbon-emissions-heavy oil boiled from large swaths of bitumen know as the Alberta tar sands.
Canada holds the world’s third-largest oil reserves, mostly concentrated in the western province of Alberta, the region that is the largest emitter of greenhouse gases. Where most provinces’ GHG emissions have stabilised since 1990, Alberta’s emissions have increased by 41%.