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30 Fairmont Park Lane S
Lethbridge, AB
T1K 7H7
Phone: (403) 328-1804
Saturday, October 21, 2006
The Editor
The Lethbridge Herald
P.O. Box 670
Lethbridge, AB, T1J 3Z7
Dear Editor, 

Many Canadians have been waiting with bated breath for the new government’s position on pollution and climate change. Bill C-30, the Clean Air Act, was finally posted on the Parliament of Canada website on October 19. We should now be able to breathe a sigh of relief and inhale some fresh air on the climate change issue. 

This Act avoids the pretence of the previous government, and other diehard organizations, that Canada can meet the Kyoto Protocol requirements for greenhouse gas reduction. 

We can anticipate there will be a great outcry from those who still spin the sham that Canada can meet the Kyoto targets for emission reduction. Canada has been setting greenhouse gas emission reduction targets for 19 years now. At the United Nations 1988 Toronto Conference on the Environment, it was suggested a challenging target would be to reduce emissions to 20% below 1988 levels by 2005.   The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in 1992 pledged to reduce emissions to 1990 levels by 2000. The United Nation’s Kyoto Protocol included Canada’s commitment in 1997 to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 6% below 1990 levels over the period 2008 to 2012. Throughout this setting of targets, Canada’s emissions have continued to grow. They are now at a level which means we would need to reduce emissions to about 40% below 1990 levels by 2012 - starting in 2008 - to meet the Kyoto commitment. 

Taken in that context, the Clean Air Act goal to achieve a 45% to 65% reduction by 2050 seems a much more realistic goal.  It is possibly even achievable. It won’t be easy. Taking population growth into account, Canada’s per capita greenhouse gas emissions will need to be reduced by about a factor of three. 

The Clean Air Act outlines a rational progressive path to emissions reduction. It provides a clear distinction between pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. It focuses first on reducing pollution. Some initiatives provide complementary greenhouse gas reductions where there is overlap. It recognizes the need for time to develop and put new energy technology in place. 

Earlier this year the new government was elected with the promise that it would implement a “plan focused on ensuring future generations enjoy clean air, clean water, clean land, and clean energy here in Canada”. It is refreshing to see that promise is remembered and a sober and progressive fresh new start is at hand after nearly twenty years of confusion. 

Yours truly,


Duane Pendergast


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