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Canada To Adopt US Climate Change Policies

In 2003, Canada had increased its emissions by 24.2 percent from the base 1990 level, far from its 2012 target of a six percent reduction, according to the report published in November 2005.
by Michel Comte
Ottawa (AFP) Apr 26, 2006
Ottawa will soon announce new "made in Canada" measures that closely resemble US efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and other air pollutants, Canada's environment minister said Tuesday.

The news came after Environment Minister Rona Ambrose met with Paula Dobriansky, US Under Secretary of State for Democracy and Global Affairs, and James Connaughton, Chairman of the White House Council on Environmental Quality.

Ambrose, who will chair a UN Framework Convention on Climate Change next month in Bonn, Germany, told reporters she is working on a clean air act and other pollution controls to meet or beat US efforts in this area.

The measures will focus on reducing air and water pollution, she said, offering few details.

"They (the United States) are beating us in every industry on pollution control, so we don't want to just catch up, we want to compete, we want to outperform," Ambrose said.

US officials noted it was the first time Ottawa had invited Washington to discuss climate change, although Prime Minister Stephen Harper and US President George W. Bush had talked about global warming at a leaders summit in Mexico last month.

"There's no physical border (between Canada and United States) when it comes to air," Connaughton said in support of more bilateral cooperation on this issue.

Last year, Canada was flagged in a UN report as high on a list of countries most likely to run into difficulty implementing commitments to stem global warming under the Kyoto Protocol.

In 2003, Canada had increased its emissions by 24.2 percent from the base 1990 level, far from its 2012 target of a six percent reduction, according to the report published in November 2005.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper sparked concerns earlier this month when he said it would be "impossible" for Canada to meet its Kyoto targets. Meanwhile his government cut some 15 existing climate change programs.

Both Harper and Bush do not support the Kyoto Protocol, although Canada has ratified the international accord.

Environmentalists, scientists and opposition parties lamented last week that Harper did not plan to even try to meet Canada's Kyoto commitments.

However, Dobriansky noted Ottawa and Washington could still partner on climate change measures under the framework.

Ambrose also said Canada may opt later to join the Asia-Pacific Partnership on Clean Development and Climate, an agreement on air pollution between the United States, Australia, China, Japan, India and South Korea, but not now.

"We've been looking at the Asia-Pacific Partnership for a number of months now because the key principles around it are very much in line with where our government wants to go," Ambrose said.

"It's a very interesting group and I think they're doing things that we're very interested in participating in further down the road."

"We have to clean up our own backyard before we go out on the international stage," Ambrose added.

She also lamented that China and other developing countries that emit significant greenhouse gases have no emissions reduction targets under Kyoto, despite being signatories to the pact.

Source: Agence France-Presse

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Montreal (AFP) Apr 24, 2006
Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper's climate policies have sparked concern among environmentalists, scientists and opposition parties, who say he disdains the Kyoto Protocol and his government's alternate climate change proposals are vague.

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