Commentary on Canada’s Decision to Withdraw from the Kyoto Protocol

The Canadian federal government was right to pull out of the Kyoto Protocol after many years of being a signatory but ignoring our international treaty commitments. 

Kyoto was burdened with the Clean Development Mechanism — an aid conduit from developed economies to governments in developing countries. Financial aid to governments in developing countries, particularly those that do not promote property and human rights, allows governments to operate without the consent of their people and is in my opinion one of the reasons why big parts of the developing world are falling behind.

Canada should replace Kyoto with it with a made-in-Canada CO2 reduction plan. Instead of ignored Kyoto targets, Canada should instead pursue a revenue neutral carbon tax with matching cuts to other growth deterring taxes, particularly those on payrolls and corporate earnings. We should also negotiate with the U.S. seek harmonized carbon taxes. Some carbon fuels, particularly road fuels, are already heavily taxed and don’t need more tax. Some carbon fuels for industrial and home heating are not taxed or taxed lightly.

With a modest carbon tax in place, there would be no justification for all the silly green energy subsidies fouling up energy markets across the country. A modest carbon tax should replace subsidies and tax holidays for energy technologies like ethanol fuels, wind power, cogeneration, solar energy, and biomass. Instead, all energy sources should compete to serve the needs of consumers while recognizing that more carbon intensive options should bear an extra cost burden.

I debated these issues December 13th on BNN with Tom Rand representing the MARS Discovery District. You can watch the clip here: http://watch.bnn.ca/headline/december-2011/headline-december-13-2011/#clip585052

5 Comments

  1. The implied carbon tax for Ontario big wind ($/MWh), displacing fully-costed CCGT gas ($ 75/MWh and 0.4 tonnes/MWh), is $ 150/tonne. Any near-term carbon tax would be liking sticking a fork in our crazy FIT rates. I certainly wouldn’t shed any tears.

  2. Climate change is a dangerous distraction from serious energy security problems at best and a the greatest scam in the history of the world at worst.

    There’s shouldn’t be a carbon tax or a global agreement to reduce emissions.

    There’s no alternative to fossil fuels – 7 billion people can’t be sustained by solar panels and wind turbines. (not to mention, wind and solar wouldn’t exist if it wasn’t for fossil fuels)

  3. Here’s another policy proposal that is applicable to many issues and worthy of thoughtful consideration:

    God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; The courage to change the things I can, and; The wisdom to know the difference.

    When combined with other complementary policies such as “First do no harm” and “If in doubt, don’t”, the initial policy consideration becomes an effective means of avoiding unforeseen, unintended and perhaps even irreparable detrimental consequences [predictably due collective affirmative action in particular].

    I can see no reason why a government couldn’t follow this same line of thinking that many individual adults do, regarding many issues they face, if not almost all.

  4. While I agree with the sentiment you express — that we should introduce a made-in-Canada plan — I interpret the action in question is a simple abandonment of any policy attempts in this regard.

    The current government has made it very clear they do not consider it their mandate to tackle any big problems. This is in keeping with their small-government sentiments, but does not portend well for the future.

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