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Carbon Tariffs Deemed Risky Business

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The fact that the U.S. Congress is considering "climate-related border measures" has Mr.

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									Enviromation                                                                                                                532


       Following the summit, and one day before the Jan-            duction. During the course of the recent Copenhagen
uary 31 deadline set out at Copenhagen, Environment Min-            summit, a coalition of environmental activists gave Canada
ister Jim Prentice made the announcement that Canada                a ‘‘Colossal Fossil’’ award, stating that Canada’s emissions
would align itself with the United States in committing to          of GHGs are ‘‘among the worst in the industrialized world’’.
the United Nations that GHGs would be reduced by 17%                Western oil sands, a key factor in Canada’s position at the
from 2005 levels by 2020. ‘‘This is in keeping with our com-        summit, were targeted by militants in Copenhagen as well
mitment, as I indicated in the days leading up to Copen-            as in Ottawa.
hagen and afterwards, to align our policies with those of                Mr. Prentice stopped short of saying when industry
our continental partner’’, he said, declining to say what           would be subject to federal rules and regulations designed
specific actions would be needed to achieve what he                 to curb emissions. ‘‘We have to calibrate at the end of the
acknowledged would be a challenging target. ‘‘We’ll deal            day the obligations we impose on trade-exposed indus-
specifically with all sources of emissions but today the            tries with those that are to be imposed in the United States,
objective of this announcement is to fulfill our obligations        otherwise we will have discordant energy and environment
. . . We’re prepared to stand behind it and other countries         policies and so some choices have to be made south of
will now have to do the same.’’                                     the border’’, he reiterated afterwards to reporters. ‘‘I think
     The government’s previously stated emission targets,           we had an experience already in this country with Kyoto,
announced in 2006, would have resulted in a 3% reduction            where we began imposing obligations on Canadians that
in emissions from 1990 levels, and a spokesman for Green-           were not imposed on their competitors across the
peace Canada said that the new target would increase                border.’’
emissions by some 2.5%. ‘‘We’re heading in exactly the                     In Ottawa, Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff said that
opposite direction that we need to head’’, said spokesman           waiting for a final U.S. climate change policy is not the
David Martin. ‘‘Not only have they reneged on the target            solution; Canada has to set firm emissions targets and
that they adopted a couple of years ago, they have also             establish a cap-and-trade system, which would enable
failed to put in place the regulations that they promised           companies to buy and sell credits. ‘‘This is a matter of
last year.’’ He also accused the federal government of              national sovereignty for Canada. We should have a . . .
being reluctant to address emissions by the petroleum               made-in-Canada climate change plan. The Conservatives
industry in Alberta.                                                argue you can’t do anything until the Americans get their
      David McGuinty, the Liberal environment and energy            targets lined up; we say you can anticipate where we’re
critic, not only accused the government of having abdi-             going to be. Canada can lead here instead of being a fol-
cated its sovereignty, but also of incurring a huge risk by         lower.’’ Marlo Reynolds, Executive Director of the Pembina
waiting to see what kind of emissions reduction legislation         Institute think-tank, agreed. ‘‘I don’t understand why feder-
the United States would have once their Bill has worked             ally in Canada we can’t take our own action. I think we also
through Congress. ‘‘Everything that we hear from the min-           need to remember in the United States there is legislation
ister and the prime minister is that we are now effectively         . . . on paper. In Canada we have no such thing . . . Finally
taking our marching orders from America’s Capitol Hill’’, he        we’ve realized that our international reputation in Canada
said. ‘‘The risk we’ve now put ourselves in is that we are to       really depends on our international performance. That
take a policy designed for the United States and wait to see        depends how we’re going to deal wit
								
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