Kyoto flawed from the start: MP

James Lunney says Liberals should never have signed on in the first place

The Kyoto accord has been dead for some time, says MP James Lunney.

“It was flawed from the beginning,” he said. “It didn’t include the biggest emitters.”

The Nanaimo-Alberni MP made the comment in light of Environment Minister Peter Kent’s musings about Canada formally withdrawing from the Kyoto treaty, which legally binds Canada to reduce emissions in a bid to avert catastrophic global warming.

Canada has faced criticism in the runup to the latest round of climate talks, slated to be held in Durban, South Africa next week.

Lunney said Canada should never have signed the Kyoto protocol in the first place.

“The biggest flaw was for the previous Liberal government to commit to a project with a press release and no plan to implement it,” Lunney said. “There is nothing in the plan to make the changes that would hinder our economy. It’s meaningless.”

In contrast, Lunney said, the government is committed to what he called a responsible plan, one that would require all countries, developed and developing alike, to commit to reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

“We are pushing a plan to include all the major emitters,” he said. “In the meantime, we have reduced our own emissions by 17 per cent from 2005 levels and we are making progress. We have measures in place and we have served notice to industry in several sectors and already our emissions have dropped.”

Lunney said it’s all  very well for European countries to sign onto the Kyoto Accord and demand that Canada likewise reduce its emissions, but that, he said, ignores some of the fundamental realities of this country.

“The European countries have a very small land mass and the population is concentrated,” he said. “You can travel across some of those countries in a fraction of the time you can drive across Nanaimo-Alberni.

“That model works for them, but we are a huge country and we are cold in the winter and hot in the summer. Nobody should be ashamed of being a big energy user.”

Lunney said Kyoto was little more than a comforting illusion.

“We are such a small part of the overall problem that crippling our economy to satisfy someone else’s illusion doesn’t make sense,” he said. “Part of my basic philosophy has been that pursuing illusions ultimately leads to disappointment.”