Is Harper Turning Green?

Posted on Saturday, February 10 at 15:35 by 4Canada
The haunting began again with the recent release of a Canadian Alliance fundraising letter, penned by Harper in 2002, decrying the Kyoto accord as a "socialist scheme." The Liberal opposition followed that up with the text of a Harper speech from the same year vowing to rescind Canada's Kyoto targets once in power. These revelations are not good at a time when the environment is the most pressing concern of Canadians, or when the international treaty is viewed rightly or wrongly as the most visible, structured and politically credible way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Nor is it good as the Prime Minister tries to build the case that Canadians should turn his minority government into a majority. But if Harper has his way, it will not be fatal. The Prime Minister appears to have overcome his apoplexy when the word "Kyoto" enters the conversation, and he is in the process of trying to figure his way out of the government's current bind. The government's program will include regulations, likely by month's end, on industrial polluters such as Ontario's coal-fired electricity plants and auto industry, and on petroleum producers in the Alberta oil sands. Just before last year's election campaign, Harper called the study of climate change an "emerging science." Last week, following the release of a UN scientific report compiling the evidence of climate change and painting a damning picture, Harper declared that "the science is clear." He has consistently maintained, though, that Canada's 2012 targets under the Kyoto treaty to reduce greenhouse gases by 270 megatonnes to 6 per cent below 1990 levels are unattainable, and that he has no intention of spending "billions of dollars of taxpayers' money" to meet them. [Proofreader's note: this article was edited for spelling and typos on February 12, 2007]


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