Canada Plans to Buy Kyoto Green Credits Abroad
OTTAWA After insisting it would not buy "hot air" from Russia and other countries, the Canadian government said Tuesday it would have go abroad to buy green credits in order to meet its emissions targets under the Kyoto accord.
Environment Minister Stephane Dion said the government's plans so far were not enough to meet the targets laid down by the international Kyoto treaty on climate change, which comes into force Wednesday.
Dion said most of the plan he is developing to cut greenhouse gases, blamed for global warming, would bring about reductions in Canadian emissions.
But he conceded: "We may have to, yes, be involved in the credit system, the trading system -- but in a way that will boost Canadian technology."
Under Kyoto, countries pledge lower emissions, but if they cannot make it on their own they are allowed to buy credits elsewhere, the theory being that that is sometimes cheaper and less damaging economically.
Countries emitting less than their quota of greenhouse gases can sell these emissions credits to nations that are over their limits.
But Dion's remarks drew swift condemnation from both the Conservatives on the right and the New Democrats on the left, who have accused Dion of buying "hot air" credits from Russia and who have argued the money should be spent at home.
Canada pledged to cut its emissions to 6 percent below 1990 levels by 2012, but as of 2002 its emissions had swelled 20.1 percent above the 1990 level.
Dion said some measures already decided on, like increasing the amount of ethanol used in gasoline, had yet to take effect and the results would only show up in later years.
As for going abroad for credits, he said it would only be for green credits -- "credits that really give improvements (in) greenhouse gas emissions."
He cited as examples credit for helping countries cut their emissions through better technology or through the use of natural gas or reducing methane from landfills.
"It's a wonderful way to export our technology," he told reporters.
Immediately afterward, Conservative Bob Mills rejoined: "Let's develop that technology in Canada. Let's do what we can do in Canada and let's achieve our targets domestically before we start developing offshore credits."
He added that it would be much more difficult to monitor emission progress in other countries.
New Democrat Bill Blaikie charged the Liberals had done too little since taking power in 1993.
"They've basically treaded water for 11 years on the environment," he said.