Monday, April 30, 2007

High-profile attacks on Baird continue

Attacks on the Baird plan continue to eminate from high-profile critics. This time: the head of the body at the UN that oversees Kyoto questions the use of intensity targets, and chagning the base year:

Yvo de Boer, executive secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, questioned the assertion that with tough enough intensity targets, an absolute reduction would occur.

“You can still see a reduction in absolute terms, but you can't guarantee how much the reduction is going to be in absolute terms,” Mr. de Boer said in an interview Monday from his office in Bonn, Germany.

“If you have a very stringent relative reduction target, but your economy grows by 30 per cent, then your emissions could still end up going up.”

Mr. de Boer suggested there is some confusion over how Canada intends to live up to the Kyoto Protocol, which it signed in 1997. To date, no official has said the government is withdrawing from the treaty but the Kyoto targets have been abandoned.

The Conservatives have said meeting Kyoto targets would have meant disaster for the Canadian economy.

“It's interesting that while it would appear that the government has set itself a new target with a new base year, which of course it's free to do, that target is less ambitious than the commitment it has under the Kyoto Protocol,” Mr. de Boer said.

“The question is how this new commitment or the new policy objective relates to the international commitment or international undertaking Canada has made with the Kyoto Protocol, and also how it fits into the debate about longer term action that's currently under way.”

Another United Nations official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said there's a sense of alarm in the agency that Canada's reluctance to try to meet the Kyoto targets will encourage other countries to shirk the treaty.

“Canada is perceived to be a role model for the United States. If Canada throws up its hands and says there's no point, it has a negative rub off for the U.S.,” the official said.

The Conservatives have no one to blame but themselves. They've had numerous rewrites, numerous chances to put forth a strong green plan with teeth, and they keep disappointing.