Environmental Defense Praises Canada's Kyoto Commitment

On April 13, Environmental Defense praised the Government of Canada's plan for honoring its commitment to the Kyoto Protocol on Climate Change.

"Global warming is the single greatest environmental challenge of the 21st century," said Annie Petsonk, international counsel for Environmental Defense. "We're encouraged by Canada's determination to drive its economic growth forward while bringing its greenhouse gas emissions down."

The plan uses the power of Kyoto's emissions trading market to help create new opportunities for Canadian technologies at home and abroad. The plan's four main elements – a multi-billion-dollar fund for competitive purchases of emissions reductions at home and abroad, a commitment by auto manufacturers to cut greenhouse pollution from new vehicles, an emissions trading system for large industries, and a challenge to every household to cut one ton of global warming pollution – engage all Canadians.

The fund will start with an endowment of $1 billion to buy carbon credits from individuals or organizations that substantially reduce or sequester emissions. For example, farmers, ranchers, and foresters who cut greenhouse pollution by adopting low-till/no-till farming practices, managing forests more sustainably, and converting rural communities from diesel to renewable energy like wind power and biofuels will be eligible to receive credits for their reductions. The fund's international arm will help promote Canadian technologies around the world, reaping cuts in global warming pollution and in pollutants like mercury that travel across the Pacific.

The auto industry's commitment to develop cleaner cars in Canada strongly contrasts the industry's position in the United States, where it is trying to block California from requiring cleaner cars. A letter released today from 53 environmental groups in 14 countries representing more than 6 million members calls on the CEOs of the car companies to drop their legal challenge in California. Read the letter at www.undoit.org/greenletter .

"Canada's announcement shows how the car companies are speaking out of both sides of their mouths," said Jim Marston, Environmental Defense litigation counsel. "The car companies say they will cut global warming pollution in Canada, and in the same breath they are telling the court in California it can't be done. It's time for the car companies stop suing, and start selling the cleaner cars that Canadians, Californians, and all Americans want to drive."

"Canada's Kyoto plan is not perfect," said Petsonk, citing flaws in the proposed emissions trading system. "But it's a great first step. And now, the United States will be the only nation at the G-8 Summit without a credible commitment to cut global warming pollution."

UK Prime Minister Tony Blair has put climate change as a top-tier issue for this summer's G-8 Summit.

"America can do Canada one step better. The Climate Stewardship Act would be that better step," Petsonk said.

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