The mainstream media is running with news of soon-to-be-released recommendations on climate change policy from a new group including four former prime ministers. Early reports on the group’s other members—which include the Pembina Institute—indicate the recommendations will be pure same-old, same-old.
The group, called Canadians for Climate Leadership, is due to release its report on September 10.
Though the Pembina Institute has loudly criticized Canada’s rising greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, it has also refused to acknowledge the massive emission reductions achieved in the Ontario electricity generating sector since 2003. As I have mentioned, annual emissions from this sector were 15 million tonnes lower in 2006 than they were in 2003. This is because four nuclear reactors, laid up in the 1990s, returned to service. These displaced coal-fired power generation, which is the biggest source of GHGs in Ontario’s power sector.
Pembina doesn’t like nuclear power, so it and other mainstream environmental groups never mention this reduction. This anti-nuclear position is a bit puzzling when you consider that emission reductions are, or ought to be, what climate change policy is all about.
Moreover, the performance of Ontario’s nuclear fleet will determine whether the Ontario power sector is the only one in Canada that will meet its Kyoto target by the end of 2010. My bet is it will, and then some. I bet it will even meet the federal government’s reduction target. Few have mentioned this, but when you apply it to Ontario electricity, the federal target is even tougher than Kyoto.
I would be pleasantly surprised to see any positive reference to nuclear power in the Canadians for Climate Leadership report. And very surprised. If mainstream environmentalists signed on to it, then it will tout the same old politically correct bromides, like renewable energy and conservation. The Canadian climate debate will continue as before. I guess we’ll see.
If I am right, how will this play out in the context of the election? Like I said earlier this week, this election is Kyoto electoral test part II.