Liberals, Environment Canada bureaucrats brace for AG’s Kyoto blast

Any day now, the federal Auditor General’s environment commissioner will release the report of her inquiry into federal Kyoto programs.

It won’t be a happy tale.

Canada, she will report, has told its citizens and the rest of the world that it’s in the vanguard of the movement to halt the increase in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. She will tell us that her inquiry has revealed that Canada is indeed a world leader—in talking about reducing GHGs. While Canada spent the nine years since the 1997 Kyoto Accord talking about reducing GHGs, actual GHG emissions skyrocketed.

In short, federal money thrown at climate change went to building a new federal bureaucracy, as well as to funding environmental groups whose put-on-a-sweater-and-turn-down-the-thermostat admonitions appear to be the sum and substance of their contribution to Canada’s energy and Kyoto debate.

Will the AG agree with Environment Minister Rona Ambrose that Canada cannot hope to meet its Kyoto commitments? I hope not. But her lambasting of federal Kyoto programs will be sweet music to the ears of the Conservatives, who are feeling the Kyoto heat these days. Unfortunately for them, the rich melody will soon give way to an atonal cacophony of demands for meaningful action on climate change.

There’s still hope. Canada wasn’t always more talk than action. The bureaucracy mentioned above is not useless; in fact it could and should be a formidable force in climate change policymaking and program delivery.

How could the bureaucracy marshal its considerable resources? Canada was one of the last holdouts against the anti-nuclear campaign that removed nuclear energy from the Clean Development Mechanism in Bonn in 2001. Now that the principal group behind that campaign—the German Green Party—is safely out of power, Canada should lobby to put the atom back into the CDM. The Prime Minister indicated in St. Petersburg (see my July 16 post) that he wants this to happen. The Environment Canada bureaucracy has built an extensive network of international contacts over the years. The time is ripe.

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