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30 Fairmont Park Lane S
Lethbridge, AB
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Phone: (403) 328-1804
Tuesday, August 01, 20066
The Editor
CARP magazine
27 Queen St. E., Ste. 702
Toronto, ON, M5C 2MB
Dear Editor, 

We are all keen to preserve or improve the quality of the environment and our air and water. President Morgenthau’s message in the August issue indicates “the Prime Minister’s decision to opt out of the Kyoto Accord is very disturbing” on that account. 

I am troubled that President Morgenthau may have been misled by those with vested interests in the Kyoto Accord. She seems to believe that the Kyoto Accord is strongly correlated to air and water quality. In fact, compliance with Kyoto will have next to no effect on air and water quality. Nor have I been able to find reliable information to confirm the Prime Minister has decided Canada will opt out of the Kyoto Accord.  

President Morgenthau’s comment is understandable. Many organizations with vested financial and other interests in supporting it are playing mind games with us all. They have cleverly campaigned to link Kyoto in the minds of Canadians with clean air. These same organizations would also put words in the Prime Minister’s mouth as they are fearful he may upset their Kyoto goose. These  strategies, and others, have worked very well as some polls have indicated Canadians are strongly in support of Kyoto even though they also indicate they know little about it. 

In reality, the Kyoto Accord is all about attempting to control carbon dioxide releases that may be a factor in global warming. Carbon dioxide is a component of the atmosphere that is essential to life on earth as we know it. Our use of fossil fuels, in conjunction with other changes to the environment, is increasing carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. However this increase is far from being in the category of a pollutant which is a direct hazard to life. Carbon dioxide does trap some additional heat on the earth’s surface.  The magnitude of warming it may induce is difficult to assess and very uncertain. 

There are plenty of pollutants, in the form of poisons and toxins, which are released to the atmosphere by our activities that are concerning. The published environmental policy of the Conservative Party of Canada includes a review of policy on environmental issues including the Kyoto Accord. The focus is on cleaning up our air, water and soil. 

Indeed, it might be environmentally beneficial to modify our commitment to the Kyoto carbon dioxide emission reduction target. Kyoto will be extremely difficult – or expensive - to meet over the specified time frame from 2008 - 2012.  Buying emission reduction credits of dubious credibility from other countries seems the only way Canada could meet the specified Kyoto target, short of total economic collapse. Benefits will be small at best as emissions from much of the rest of the world will continue to increase, overwhelming any real reduction Canada might achieve.  There are complex options within Kyoto including the option to withdraw from it (Kyoto Protocol, Article  27.1). Redirection   of initiatives needed to implement Kyoto, to focus on cleaning up our air, water and contaminated sites might well yield more tangible results with respect to improving our environment.  

Our new government tells us it is “putting in place a made-in-Canada plan for reducing greenhouse gases (GHG) and ensuring clean air, water, land and energy for Canadians”. Perhaps we should wait till this plan is available before we conclude it is on the wrong track. 

 Yours truly,  


Duane Pendergast


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