The environment is a resource that is available for us to use. It is a commodity in which we need in order for us to live a comfortable life style however; there is a current change in the environment. The change that the world is currently facing now is climate change or more popularly known as “global warming.” The changes that we experience are anthropogenic or human-made because of the technologies that emits Green House Gases (GHGs). In the past, climate change was not a concern in the international community because it is clouded by other issues such as terrorism, drugs, human rights and the likes but recently, climate change became as important as the those issues because of the changes that is being felt by everyone of us.
Questions and Answers:
1. What is the history of Kyoto Protocol? Why Kyoto Protocol (which embodies
International co-operation) is needed?
The awareness of climate change started in 1988 when the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change was formed. Studies and research was made in order to accurately see the problem of climate change which led to 1990’s IPCC first published Assessment Report. Due to the report which had been available to the international community The Earth Summit held in Rio de Jainero in 1992. The Summit led to the creation of the UNFCCC or the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change which is an organization under the United Nations (UN) that focuses on the issues regarding climate change. The convention was entered in to force in 1994. The next step that the international organization did was to create the COP1 (Conference of Parties) which was held in Berlin to strengthen UNFCCC through a protocol. Finally, in 1997 the Kyoto Protocol was created. (Climate Change Colleges, 2004).
The Kyoto Protocol is an international agreement in which desires to address the issue of climate change through the cooperation of the international community. The IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) an organization that creates research and analysis of the environment, have eagerly researched and studied the climate of the world for many decades, but due to the severe changes of the environment, they called for serious action from the international community which resulted to the United Nations General Assembly (GA) in Kyoto, Japan in 1997. The result of the meeting was the Kyoto Protocol. The agreement is legally binding, which demands all the signatories to submit to the obligations of returning their emissions of green house gases (GHGs) to the average of approximately 5.2 percent below their 1990 levels over the period of 2008-2012 (UNFCCC, 2008).
The Kyoto Protocol is an agreement that encourages the international community to find ways in order to cooperate with the global issue of climate change. The Kyoto Protocol needs the cooperation of different states because the issue is not simply a state or regional issue, thus, it is an interstate problem that every nation is facing. The problem of climate change is going beyond borders and international policies of every state which states that it is ever states’ concern.
Canada’s environmental policies are within the Canadian Environmental Act of 1999. The policy of Canada has 12 parts in order to fully achieve the goals of the state in relation to their environment protection and to create ways in order to prevent and make people aware of the environment. First is the Administration in which presents the advisory committee, agreements respecting equivalent administration and agreements respecting equivalent provisions. The second part is the Public Participation which demonstrates the Environmental Registry, Rights under other parts, voluntary reports, investigation of offences, environmental Protection Action, actions to prevent or compensate loss. The third part is the information gathering, objectives, guidelines and codes of practice. The forth part of the act states the problems that the Canadian government must address to have a healthier environment for Canada and its citizens which are: Pollution Prevention, Control of Toxic Substances, Animate Products of Biotechnology, Control Pollution and Managing Waste, Environmental Matters Related to Emergencies and Governmental Operations and Federal and Aboriginal Land. The last three parts of the act states the process in which the rules are enforced, miscellaneous matters and consequential amendments, repeal, transitional provision and coming into force.
Canada does not have a direct report on their environment policy, thus the laws which had been passed addressing the environment is available.
3. Why is David Suzuki critical of Canada’s environmental policy? What is the view of Green Party?
David Suzuki, a Japanese-Canadian broadcaster has revealed that Canada’s environmental policy protects the Canadian environment however; it does not protect the health of the Canadian people. In articles and statements declared in the David Suzuki Foundation in its published paper Prescription for a Healthy Canada: Towards a National Environmental Health Strategy stated that:
“Many Canadians will find it disturbing to learn that their country has fallen behind in protecting its citizens from environmental threats to their health. While most developed countries have adopted national health and environment strategies, Canada have not.
Each year, millions of Canadians become ill or disabled after being exposed to environmental contaminants linked to asthma, gastrointestinal illness, poisonings, cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, developmental disorders, birth defects, and reproductive problems.” (Boyd, 2007)
David Suzuki proclaims in his written work, Unnatural Law: Rethinking Environmental Law and Policy he stated that the Canadian Government is presenting the international community that it has a desire to be one of the world leaders in promoting sustainability however, through his study and research, he presents that Canada is doing other wise due to the environmental law and policies relating to water protection, air, biodiversity and land.
On the other hand, the Green Party of Canada stated bases on the statement of Elizabeth May—the leader of the party stated that “the act is nothing more than a PR campaign designed to confuse the public” (Leahy, 2006). This was her statement when she was asked about her reaction in Canada’s refusal to follow the Kyoto Protocol. She adds that, “The Canadian movement to avert a global climate catastrophe just lost years — no decades — of work”(Leahy, 2006).
4. What is the history of Governmental spending on environment in Canada?
In the article written by Susan Munroe in 2006, she has stated that the government of Canada has cut their spending and was able to save $1 Billion due to the limitation of programs which the government thinks of as not effective. These activities are categorized in for different levels 1) programs do not provide value for money which saved $266 million 2) unused funds that saved $380 million 3) inefficient programs which saved $256 million 4.) and the non-core programs which saved $100 million. The category in which the environment was placed was within the non-core programs in which declares that such programs are not prioritized by the Canadian Government or the needs of Canadians.
5. Do you agree with the cost/benefit study of Canada’s participation in the Kyoto Protocol?
The benefits of Canada in its participation in Kyoto protocol is immense due to the big impact it can cause if the problem of climate change will be averted. The sudden changes in the weather have affected the biodiversity of Canada but also other states. The environmental issues that Canada is facing would be harder to solve if the issue of climate change is at hand because due to the alteration of climate, studies would not be as reliable as they were before. however, there are also costs in which Canada needs to face due to the Kyoto Protocol such as the change of some of its industries in order to level up to the criteria of the protocol. Many industries must comply with the demands of the protocol. Although the Canadian government is the actor that ratified the agreement, it is the industrial sectors which are the most significant player in fulfilling the demands of the protocol.
6. Why USA should or should not join the Protocol? What is the history of government environment spending in USA, in Canada and in other countries?
The United States is one of the biggest state emitting carbons due to the industries that it is housing with in its territory. The United States must join the Kyoto Protocol due to the big percentage of carbon it is emitting; it would be helpful for the international community as well as the environment if the emission of the United States would be lessened which the global community will benefit.
7. Is Kyoto Protocol too soft or too harsh on China and India?
The Kyoto Protocol is an agreement under the Kyoto Protocol which promotes the cooperation of developed (Annex 1) and developing (Non-Annex 1) countries in most of the mechanisms in addressing the problem of climate change. India and China are one of the 3 leading developed country in the mechanisms provided with in the Kyoto Protocol which are Emissions Trading (ET), Joint Implementation (JI) and Clean Development Mechanisms (CDM) with in the Kyoto Protocol. It is evident that China and India is fairly treated in terms of the project given to their countries. The Kyoto Protocol gives both these countries the flexibility that they need in order to fully cooperate with other states regarding their emission reductions. (UNFCCC, 2008)
8. What is Europe’s stand on Kyoto Protocol?
The European Community have declared in 2006 that, “We and its Member States will fulfill their respective commitments under article 3, paragraph 1, of the Protocol jointly in accordance with the provisions of Article 4.” (UNFCCC, 2006) In addition, The European Community has affirmed that in agreement with the Treaty. Particularly in article 175(1), states that capable to dwell into international agreements as well as implementing its obligations resulting from the protocol which will add to the pursuit of the subsequent objectives: Preserving, caring and enhancing the quality of the environment, protection of human health, cautious and balanced consumption of natural resources, and the promotion of actions in the international level on dealing with the global and regional environmental problems.
Moreover, the European Community also stated that their emissions reduction commitment in the Protocol which will fulfill the actions of the whole European Community and the Member States which have signed and ratified the agreement. The European Community, to show its seriousness and devotion to the Protocol, it will provide information regarding the Community’s legal instruments included in the structure of the added data incorporated in the National Communication proposed under the Article 12 of the Convention for the purpose of demonstrating observance of the commitments with in the Protocol related to the article 7(2) and its guidelines. (UNFCCC, 2006)
9. What can we do beyond Kyoto Protocol?
There are many actions in which we could go beyond the Kyoto Protocol. Given that there is already a base that the international community could form the follow up in the protocol, there surely be better agreements and could be proposed by global community. However, new commitments and agreements are easily formulated but still, the devotion and the serious implementation of the laws in the articles is much more needed to focus on rather than creating a new Protocol.
The serious approach to the problem of climate change and its effects in each state of the world would fully address and slowly avert the issue of climate change. Beyond the protocol is the ability of the state to make its nations rise to the need of the global community and individually practice the values needed in order to address the issue of climate change.
10. What is emission permit system?
Emission Trading is a mechanism under the Kyoto Protocol which requires the states committed under the protocol to reduce their GHG emissions depending on the assigned amounts (1990’s level) in the duration of 2008-2012. The mechanism under Article 17 of the Kyoto Protocol enables countries that have excess emission units to be sold in to other states in need of the emissions. (UNFCCC, 2008)
11. Is emission permit system workable to adhere to Kyoto Protocol?
The emissions permit system is definitely workable to adhere to the Kyoto Protocol due to the process that it is promoting—carbon reduction with in the committed state. However, most states are having trouble in converting their industries which leads to buying of emissions rather than reducing by themselves. CDM and JI interests more developed states due to the cheaper and faster reduction of emission compared to the emissions trading.
12. How serious is the water pollution, air pollution, smog, etc in Ontario?
Should we impose carbon tax?
The Ministry of Environment of Ontario had been seriously promoting the protection of the state from water pollution, air pollution, smog, and climate change. The situation these environmental issues are currently in an alarming rate due to the continuous misuse of the resources. The industries with in the state have also been actively adding up to the problem of Ontario however, there are actions already made by the Ontario Environment Ministry.
The state should implement the rule of giving carbon tax to offenders in order for them to realize that the state is taking the matter about environment a light issue. Instead there should be strong rules that should be upheld and followed.
13. How much of Canada’s environmental problem is due to USA?
Canada’s environment is greatly affected by the United States due to the geographical location of the state. The water flowing in the bodies of water in the United State and Canada are just the same. The pollutants from the United States to the Canada and vise versa; since bodies of water are borderless, it is not hindered to enter into the territory of these states.
14. What should Canada do to improve environmental quality when we consider acid rain?
Canada must take notice of the acid rain deposit that is stored regionally in order to fully focus on the issue. The continuous cooperation of the United States and Canada is an evident sign that the governments of both countries find the issue at hand is significant.
15. What is the future outlook of garbage disposal in Ontario?
The future outlook of the garbage disposal agreement in Ontario with in the community is positive due to the continuous support of the people in the program. Different compensation and benefits are made in order to encourage people to have their own plastic bags and they are sold in different bags depending to your location. Ontario is view to have a much cleaner and much organized waste disposal system in Canada.
16. How do we see the debate between incineration and landfill in Ontario?
In the website of the Ontario Government, it is stated that there is an interest with regards to the improvement of the landfill facilities in the region. The government is wiling to give funding to the studies that will prove that the renewable energy coming from the landfill would be useful and be converted to a clean energy. Seeing the interests of the Ontario’s government to have a cleaner energy, it is evident that there will be continuous studies and development regarding this matter. (Government of Ontario, 2003)
17. How do we analyze Ontario Government’s environmental policy: past, present and future?
The environmental policy of Ontario is currently focused on the highlighted issues focusing on the environmental problems of the region. The future policy of Ontario must focus on all the aspects such as the international climate change, the deforestation of forests in different parts of the world must also be considered in order to fully view the importance of ones’ environment to another country. The promotion of sustainable development and the renewal of resources such also are added in the environmental policy of the state.
18. What are the serious energy issues in Ontario or in Canada?
Some of the serious energy issues in Canada are the Uranium mining, the mercury waste from used batteries, nuclear power plants, invention of new alternative energy sources just to name a few.
19. What are the environmental impacts of Nuclear Plants in Ontario?
In a book written “Nuclear Power in Canada: An Examination of Risks, Impacts and Sustainability” it was stated that the environmental impacts of the utilization of the nuclear energy production. The book elaborates that there are no other energy sources that could combine the variety of different pollutants and wastes which include heavy metals, acid rain, smog and green house gases due to the current generation’s large usage of radioactive wastes. These will require concern and supervision for more thousands of years. The mixture of these environment problems joined with security, accident plus weapons propagation threats which are not simply shared through other energy source. (Winfield, Cretney, Czajkowski, & Wong, 2006)
20. What is the future Outlook for alternative energy sources in Ontario or in Canada?
Due to the need of the world to have an alternative energy source (not only petroleum energy) to maintain the industries and the technological developments that we currently have, Canada have tried to innovate alternative energy sources such as hydropower plants, renewable energy from landfills and the likes. This is to support the Kyoto Protocol and to protect the environment to the harmful effect of petroleum products. In the following years, there would be more options of alternative energy sources that would be invented and would be beneficial for Canada and also the international community.
21. What is the future of Parks and Recreational Facilities, Wild Life, Forestation and Deforestation in Ontario?
The future of Parks and recreational Facilities, Wild life, Forestation and Deforestation in Ontario would definitely be positive due to the devotion of the Ministry of Environment of Canada as well as the Government of Ontario through the programs and actions that they have done and will be doing for the environment. Although there are organizations opposing the environmental policies of the state and the region and it negatively, there are still positive impacts made by the programs.
Canada. “Environment Canada.” (25 May 2008) Environment Canada., Retrieved(01 June 2008) from http://www.ec.gc.ca/default.asp?lang=En&n=FD9B0E51-1.
Canada. “Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 (1999, c. 33).” 26 May 2008 Department of Justice Canada., Retrieved 01 June 2008 from http://laws.justice.gc.ca/en/ShowTdm/cs/C-15.31///en.
Government of Ontario., (11 Feb 2003). “World-Class Research at University of Ottawa To Divert Waste From Landfill and Create Clean Energy.” Government of Ontario., Retrieved 29 May 2008 from http://ogov.newswire.ca/ontario/GPOE/2008/02/11/c8724.html?lmatch=&lang=_e.html.
Munroe, S. (2006). “Federal Government Cuts Spending.” About.com: Canada Online. Retrieved 29 May 2008 from http://canadaonline.about.com/od/governmentspending/a/spendingcuts06.htm.
Munroe, S. (2006). “Issue-The Kyoto Protocol and Canada.” About.com:Canada Online. Retrieved 29 May 2008 from http://canadaonline.about.com/od/environment/i/kyotoprotocol.htm.
Mining Watch Canada. (11 December 2007). “MiningWatch Canada Policy Statement on Uranium Mining.” Mining Watch Canada. Retrieved 1 June 2008 from http://www.miningwatch.ca/index.php?/uranium/uranium_policy.
Winfield, M.S., Cretney, A., Cazjkowski, P. & Wong, R. “Nuclear Power in Canada: An Examination of Risks, Impacts and Sustainability. (2006). Pembina Publications.