By Eric Fung
The fourth installment of the U of C’s lecture series analyzing the Kyoto Protocol and its implications was well attended on Mon., Nov. 4.
“Kyoto: A Call to Engage Canadians” featured Patrick Daniel, President and Chief Executive Officer of Enbridge, speaking about the inevitable failure of Canada’s current plan to ratify Kyoto.
Daniel believes that Canada’s approach is backwards: it should be encouraging individual consumers, not corporations, to cut back on greenhouse gas emissions, citing studies showing that consumers account for 28 per cent of national emissions.
“It’s not production that’s the issue; it’s consumption,” he said. “We can’t move forward without the people that make everyday decisions on goods and services.”
Daniel believed that the main problem is that there has been no real consultation with Canadians despite years of debate about climate change issues. Through feedback from his organization Action by Canadians on Climate Change, Daniel found that people were surprised at the level of contributions they could make on their own.
“Ratifying Kyoto does not engage individuals as citizens,” he said. “We always believe that someone else will do it for us.”
As a country, Daniel said, Canada does not know much about its own solution because of insufficient debate on the issues surrounding the protocol.
“Although I support the spirit of ratification, Kyoto shouldn’t be ratified this year,” said Daniel. “We just have a framework, which is a good starting point, but that’s it. We have no firm plan, so we have a right to skepticism and concern.”
In spite of the time and money it has invested, Daniel argued that Canada cannot truthfully call itself a supporter of the Kyoto Accord. In addition, he said non-supporters are not against environmentalism; they simply want better solutions.
“I’m sorry to inform Chretien that his plan will not work in its present form,” Daniel concluded. “I’m also sorry to inform you, the audience, that only you can solve these issues.”
The next Kyoto lecture will feature Alberta Minister of Energy Murray Smith on Thu., Nov. 14 in MacEwan Hall.
For more information on the lecture series, see www.ucalgary.ca/kyoto.