Canada Ratifies Kyoto
December 10, 2002 3:00 PM   Subscribe

Canadian Paliament ratifies the Kyoto Accord. Someone on this continent had to do it.
posted by stevengarrity (22 comments total)

 
despite any faults in the present kyoto protocol, which are often represented as a reason not to sign up by naysayers, this move is positive in a very important way. signing up to the kyoto accord shows a willingness to deal with current global climate issues. it is a philosophical stance, an acceptance and reccognition of mankinds impact on the global ecosystem.
as someone once said 'if we were drowning, the question is; whether we flap our arms to stay afloat, or wait for the next wave to push us under'. or something.
posted by asok at 4:06 PM on December 10, 2002


Is there a conceivable way that the good outweighs the bad, at this point in time, with the economy the way it is? I can't think of one. What were they thinking?
posted by Succa at 4:06 PM on December 10, 2002


Kyoto doesn't actually go into effect until it is ratified by countries representing more than 55% of the total carbon emissions of the signatories. Until Russia or the US ratifies it, it's not binding on anyone.

If Russia goes ahead and ratifies, the Canadians can still petition to increase the "carbon sink" credits they get for their forests. And the only penalties are that if they miss their targets, they get slapped with harsher targets starting in 2013.

So it's unlikely Canada will actually have to do anything. If they did, it would probably destroy both the economy and the political system. Asok is right, it's all about finding a way to take a "philosophical stance". Public posturing followed by quiet back-door exits or renegotiation is the standard approach in international relations, and I can't understand why Bush didn't follow that way.

But it doesn't really matter, since we'll solve global warming the same way that we solved the problem of the coming ice age, the looming catastrophe that was the undisputed conclusion of all available scientific evidence when I was young.
posted by fuzz at 4:28 PM on December 10, 2002


In case you haven't seen it, here's a reasonably interesting discussion between David Suzuki and Some Oil Guy (realvideo), interesting in part because I think good ol' David's arguments are pretty darn weak, uncharacteristically.

What were they thinking?

I assume this question is purely rhetorical, Succa.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 4:53 PM on December 10, 2002


we'll solve global warming the same way that we solved the problem of the coming ice age

I don't care what the current theory is. I am, and a lot of other people apparently are, uncomfortable with the amount of waste we are dispersing in our environment.

The current climate theory may not be correct, but this waste production is certainly very noticeable on a global scale, and that is not the way it should be.
posted by azazello at 5:17 PM on December 10, 2002


"...with the economy the way it is?"

Er, what's wrong with the Canadian economy? It's leading the G8. Unemployment is, IIRC, at a reasonable low, home and consumer sales are up, etc.
posted by five fresh fish at 5:27 PM on December 10, 2002


Bush: "We will not do anything that harms our economy, because first things first are the people who live in America."

Cree Indians: "Only when the last tree has been cut down
Only when the last river has been poisoned
Only when the last fish has been caught
Only then, will man find that money can not be eaten."
posted by planetkyoto at 6:15 PM on December 10, 2002


You know, I care a lot more about the atmosphere than the economy. Really. I'm not being facetious.
posted by Fabulon7 at 6:18 PM on December 10, 2002


"..it would probably destroy both the economy and the political system."

Isn't there a chance that new, more environmentally-friendly industries will replace the old ones, creating stronger economies that don't rely on non-renewable resources?
posted by Bearman at 6:32 PM on December 10, 2002


Isn't there a chance that new, more environmentally-friendly industries will replace the old ones, creating stronger economies that don't rely on non-renewable resources?

Nope. Not while there is money to be made. Merry Christmas.
posted by Wulfgar! at 6:57 PM on December 10, 2002


Well a lot of carbon emissions are produced by coastal cities... all we need to do is wait a bit for the oceans level to rise, and then those coastal cities will submerge.

Well true enough, if the seas rise too slow, then people would have time to get out of the cities with their cars...

Maybe it's better to hope for the Canary Islands to blow up?
posted by titboy at 7:22 PM on December 10, 2002


Maybe its better to hope for Yellowstone to blow? Shut your mouth ... ;-)
posted by Wulfgar! at 7:29 PM on December 10, 2002


Nope. Not while there is money to be made. Merry Christmas.

Glib, but not really helpful. While I agree that the mighty buck is the eternal driver, I'm willing to grant that where an opportunity exists to make a dollar without ravaging the environment, many companies large and small will do so, if for no other reason than good PR. What Bearman suggests is happening and will continue to happen in wealthy countries, but not fast enough. I am also quite certain that part of the reason that it's not happening fast enough is that big-money vested corporate interests sometimes actively attempt to perpetuate reliance on non-renewable resources, when those resources are responsible for putting the buck in their pockets. Perhaps this is the point you're making, Wulfgar! ?
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 7:47 PM on December 10, 2002


I am also quite certain that part of the reason that it's not happening fast enough is that big-money vested corporate interests sometimes actively attempt to perpetuate reliance on non-renewable resources, when those resources are responsible for putting the buck in their pockets. Perhaps this is the point you're making, Wulfgar! ?

Bingo. Disincentives as structural refinement. If we accept the cash driver model, than profit over expense outlay is far more expressive than the distant PR of doing goodly by the world. Make the money now, talk the future later. What's your NASDAQ portfolio showing this morning? (That was not directed at anyone personnally. But sacrifice must be made to correct innequities in environmental use. Who's willing to stand up and make them first? You first, no, you first...)
posted by Wulfgar! at 7:59 PM on December 10, 2002


Meanwhile, in Europe: Wind Turbines Are Sprouting Off Europe's Shores
posted by homunculus at 8:25 PM on December 10, 2002


You know, I care a lot more about the atmosphere than the economy. Really. I'm not being facetious.

The problem is, if we get a shitty economy now for solving a problem we might not see in our lifetime (or only near the end of our lifetime), how many people are willing to sacrifice their lifestyle (perhaps drastically) for that? Of course, that might just be a false dilemma, but currently a large amount of the population isn't even able to make small sacrifices (trading in that gas-guzzling car for a more environmentally friendly one or biking more).
posted by gyc at 9:06 PM on December 10, 2002


Someone on this continent had to do it.

How utterly shocking that it was Canada!
posted by hama7 at 9:25 PM on December 10, 2002


You know, we've already got a lousy economy, and if our current political system was destroyed, that doesn't strike me as such a bad thing -- so what the hell, let's go for it!
posted by webmutant at 3:26 AM on December 11, 2002


Isn't there a chance that new, more environmentally-friendly industries will replace the old ones, creating stronger economies that don't rely on non-renewable resources?

An interesting question and one that is the subject of considerable debate amongst economists where it is known as the Porter hypothesis . To outline specifically what this means, its essentially that introducing environmental regulation acts to drive innovation/improve efficiency.
The general belief amongst economists seems to be that the hypothesis does not stand up though this is far from definitive, and in my opinion fails to take into account first mover advantages for nations in stimulating development of new industries. Vogel presents evidence for the 'California Effect' that introducing environmental regulation can have positive trade effect where country or state has strong trading connections, as is the case with most US and EU States.
posted by biffa at 6:16 AM on December 11, 2002


"The problem is, if we get a shitty economy now for solving a problem we might not see in our lifetime (or only near the end of our lifetime), how many people are willing to sacrifice their lifestyle (perhaps drastically) for that?"

The problem is, if we're wrong about the problem, it could leap up and bite us in the ass before we can react.

Global temperatures could be about as stable as a game of Jenga. Real stable, until someone pulls the lynchpin or shakes nervously. Then, bang!, the game is over before you can blink.

What long-term harm can come from cutting down on pollution? None.

What long-term harm can come from continuing to fuck around? Extinction.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:04 AM on December 11, 2002


There's a name for that argument: Pascal's wager. According to your logic, fff, you should also become a devout Catholic.
posted by fuzz at 11:57 AM on December 11, 2002


Fuzz - there's another name for that argument too. It's called "Thermohaline cessation", and there are a few thousand oceanagraphers furiously studying the question as we speak. This is not some medieval theological question. It's about the fact that human activity is having a massive impact on the biosphere.

Sudden climate change and the inherent instability of the earth's climate system are now widely accepted phenomenon (among relevant scientists, that is). Too bad that it will take another 50 years for this news to diffuse into mainstream US culture. By then it will be too late *it may already be too late, according to the President and director of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Research Institute*
posted by troutfishing at 8:37 PM on December 11, 2002


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