Friday, June 02, 2006

Kyoto today, gone tomorrow

On the day the province increases its funding to the International Institute for Sustainable Development, it might be approporiate to remark that we thought we had made progress when we read that the Premier reaffirmed Manitoba's commitment to Kyoto after a very long, pregnant silence since the election of the anti-Kyoto federal government.

“I support Kyoto,” said Doer in a May 25 story. “We supported Kyoto before the Liberal government committed to it. We supported it after they committed to it and we support it now.” The story goes on to say "Doer said Manitoba will go even farther and exceed the accord’s emissions targets."

Nicely done. Back on track.

Or was it?

This week Doer had the unique position of chairing the Western Premiers and helping to push forward an agenda in line with Manitoba's interests. Now, we recognize it would have been unrealistic to get Alberta on board with a pro-Kyoto communique. But in a May 30, release, here we have the OFFICIAL POSITION of the provinces, including Manitoba, that DOESN'T EVEN MENTION THE WORD KYOTO. Whaaa?

Within five days, our green premier went from reaffirming our support for Kyoto, to chairing a conference that dare not utter the name -- instead, buying into the Conservative's rhetoric about made-in-Canada nonsense -- as if greenhouse gasses obey borders.

The Conservative position is one beholden to Alberta, which doesn't like facing some of the negative consequences of its otherwise good fortune of having won the geology lottery by sitting on huge oil reserves. Why else not do Kyoto, which is the bare minimum we can do?

The old chestnut that China and India not being in Kyoto and therefore the agreement is useless is a silly one. Saying not everyone is playing by the rules, therefore the rules are bad, makes no sense. Canada implementing Kyoto, even if we don't meet all our targets, means significant levels of GHGs start going down. There is no other plan right now. Buying into a fictional non-existent plan is the easy way out. Our children and our children's children won't thank us for taking the easy way out. We should be fighting for Kyoto, making the case on the national stage for Kyoto.

Mr. Doer, validating the right-wing anti-Kyoto movement is a cop out. This week was a missed opportunity to demonstrate your leadership on Kyoto and the environment.