WHEREAS in 1997, representatives from 160 countries met in Kyoto, Japan for the Third Conference of Parties (CoP3) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and agreed to the Kyoto Protocol, which if ratified will require industrialized countries to reduce their collective emissions of greenhouse gases by the period 2008 to 2012;AND WHEREAS the Government of Canada has committed to a reduction target of 6.0% below 1990 levels by the period of 2008 to 2012, and proposes to put ratification of the plan before Parliament prior to the end of this year;AND WHEREAS the Government of Canada has released a discussion paper on Canadas Contribution to Addressing Climate Change, but has not prepared a detailed plan to show what measures will be implemented to meet the targeted goals as contemplated in the Kyoto Protocol (the Discussion Paper does stress the importance of developing a workable plan in full consultation with provinces, territories, stakeholders and Canadians);AND WHEREAS the United States, Canadas most important trading partner, is opposed to ratifying the Kyoto Protocol because of the negative economic impact the agreement would have on their country, leaving Canada as potentially the only country in the Western Hemisphere committed to the greenhouse gas emission targets identified in the Kyoto Protocol, thus raising serious competitiveness issues for Canada and Canadian industry;AND WHEREAS the Government of Canada has examined policy options to address implementation of climate change, and these options negatively affect the economy of the province of Alberta;
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Alberta Association of Municipal Districts and Counties urge the Government of Canada to delay any vote on the ratification of the Kyoto Protocol until the commitment to develop a workable implementation plan in consultation with all provinces, territories, stakeholders and Canadians has been fulfilled.AND FURTHER BE IT RESOLVED that the AAMDC urge the Government of Alberta to pursue all legal and legislative options available to counteract ratification of the Kyoto Protocol by the federal government, unless the Province of Alberta is satisfied that a fair implementation plan has been developed, that fairly addresses the potential negative impact on the economy of the Province of Alberta.
In December of 1997, representatives from 160 countries met in Kyoto, Japan for the Third Conference of Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), and agreed to the Kyoto Protocol. At the subsequent Fourth Conference held in Argentina in 1998, Parties adopted the Buenos Aires Plan of Action. Under the plan, parties further agreed to strengthen the implementation of the convention and prepare for the future entry into force of the Protocol.The Kyoto Protocol defines three specific market-based mechanisms (Kyoto mechanisms), that will provide developed countries with flexibility to meet reduction targets in a manner that balances economic efficiency and environmental integrity.The three Kyoto mechanisms include:1. Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) which enables industrialized countries to finance emission-reduction projects in developing countries and share emission-reduction credit for doing so;2. Emissions Trading (ET) which permits industrialized countries to meet their commitments by buying and selling excess credits among themselves; and3. Joint Implementation (JI) which allows industrialized countries to meet their commitments with the sharing of emission-reduction credits.Greenhouse gases are invisible and are not associated with smog or other types of visible air pollution. The most abundant greenhouse gases are carbon dioxide and methane. While these gases naturally occur in the atmosphere, the concentrations of these gases beyond natural levels is expected to cause global warming. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) established by the World Meteorological Organization assessed the scientific research on climate change. They established three key findings:1. Human activities are changing the composition of the atmosphere. Predictions are that by the end of the century, the concentration of CO2 in our atmosphere will be at least double what it had been prior to the industrial revolution.2. The changes in the concentration of CO2 are affecting and will continue to affect the global climate; and3. The changes consistent with global warming are already occurring in some parts of the world. The 20th century was estimated to be the warmest century of the last millennium, and the 1990s were the warmest decade of the last century.The industrialized countries of the world have agreed that, having contributed most to the problem to date and having the resources to act, they should take the lead with respect to addressing it. To this end, the Kyoto Protocol comes into force when it has been ratified by 55 nations representing at least 55% of the industrial countries 1990 CO2 emissions.Canada as a country is responsible for only about 2% of the global greenhouse gas emissions, but is the ninth largest emitter nation. Business as usual projections would see Canadas greenhouse gas emissions rise to approximately 809 MT by 2010. Canadas Kyoto Protocol target is 571 MT by 2010. Alberta is expected to pay the highest economic price within Canada because of the production of energy and use of coal to produce electricity.Agriculture and forestry currently account for about 10% of Canadas greenhouse gas emissions. The majority of these emissions are from non-energy sources, and both industries have the potential to remove CO2 from the atmosphere. Sustainable agriculture practices improve the capacity of soils to retain or even absorb CO2. Nitrous oxides from fertilizers and manure and methane from livestock are estimated to account for 96% of agricultures greenhouse gas emissions. Targeted measures to reduce GHG could include: Rebates on soil testing and one-time payments to change fertilizer options; Encouraging conservation tillage through incentive programs; Improving grazing management by providing incentives to bring more land under improved management regimes, and Reducing nitrous oxide emissions from livestock by providing some reimbursement of the cost of feed analysis.In the Discussion Paper on Canadas Contribution to addressing Climate Change the Government of Canada identified two important conditions. First, there must be a workable plan, and secondly, such a plan must be developed in full consultation with provinces, territories, stakeholders and Canadians. Canadas challenge, while working in a void without participation from the United States, is seen to be to develop a plan that is affordable, a plan where no region of the country is asked to bear an unreasonable burden, a plan that promotes innovation and addresses issues to the competitiveness of Canadian Industry, and a plan that takes into account the complexity and long-term nature of climate change.It is apparent that this challenge has not been met, as many Canadians and Albertans struggle to understand the impact of the Kyoto Protocol.
The AAMDC has no resolutions currently in effect with respect to this issue. However, the AAMDC board has given its support to the Government of Albertas efforts to develop a made in Canada approach to greenhouse gas reduction, and has advised various federal ministers of the associations concerns regarding the economic impact of ratifying the Kyoto Protocol.