“Nowhere else on Earth do fewer people steward more resources, yet Canada now stands dead last among the G8 Nations in protecting our shared home from the threat of dangerous climate change”
Canwest News Service, July 1, 2009)
Canada is doing the least of any of the world’s wealthiest countries to fight climate change, says a damning report card released Wednesday by the World Wildlife Foundation.
Of the G8 countries – Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States – Canada is one of the few whose emissions are still increasing, the 2009 Climate Scorecard said, blaming an “expanding exploitation of the tarsands” in Alberta.
“Nowhere else on Earth do fewer people steward more resources, yet Canada now stands dead last among the G8 Nations in protecting our shared home from the threat of dangerous climate change,” said foundation spokesman Keith Stewart.
The report found the country’s emission rates per capita were very high compared to the other industrialized countries’ averages.
The report measures countries’ performance and trends in areas such as development of greenhouse gas emissions since 1990, the distance to their Kyoto targets, their share of renewable energies and the efficiency of their climate policies.
The evaluation is based on their progress and improvement made since 1990, the current status of emissions, and the intended policies for the future.
According to the report, Germany, the United Kingdom and France have already achieved their Kyoto targets.
But the report says the efforts of those countries won’t be enough to keep the global temperatures below the so-called danger threshold – which has been defined by scientists as a two-degree rise of average temperatures around the planet when compared to pre-industrial times.
To prevent climate change to these danger levels, the WWF estimates global emissions must peak and decline well before 2020 and be reduced by 80 per cent by 2050.
Canada and Russia, at the bottom of the ranking, either do not have plans to reach these targets or have not implemented them, the report said.
The Kyoto accord, which expires in 2012, is to be renegotiated and extended at a United Nations conference on climate change in Copenhagen, Denmark, this December. Countries need to agree on new emission reduction targets and are currently looking at 25 to 40 per cent of 1990 levels by 2020. Many scientists though say targets should be at 40 per cent, as they point to the speed at which the ice caps are melting.
In 2008, Canada ranked second to last in the scorecard, with the U.S. in last place. However, the U.S. improved this year because of the climate initiatives planned by the Obama administration, said the WWF.
U.S. President Barack Obama is developing a cap-and-trade emissions credit system, which the Alberta government, one of Canada’s biggest carbon emitters, has resisted in favour of emissions intensity reductions that would still see absolute volumes of greenhouse gas increase.
Also, Canada also has no national emission trading schemes, unlike the U.K. and Germany, says the report.
Canada was one of the first countries to sign the Kyoto Protocol on April 29, 1998, but since it has ignored its treaty commitments to reduce emissions by six per cent of 1990 levels, it appears to many other industrialized nations as delivering empty promises.
The scorecard was compiled by Ecofys, a Dutch consulting company, and commissioned by the World Wildlife Fund and insurer Allianz SE.