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Canada

Canada

Balancing act

Canada is seeking a 3% reduction of 1990 greenhouse gas emission levels by 2010 for developed countries and a further 5% by 2015, both in the context of a legally binding international agreement. The proposal falls between those of the US and the EU in an attempt to find common ground.

Canada finally unveiled its position on reducing greenhouse gases on the first day of the Kyoto conference. It is seeking a 3% reduction of 1990 emission levels by 2010 for developed countries and a further 5% by 2015, both in the context of a legally binding international agreement. The proposal falls between those of the US and the EU in an attempt to find common ground. Canada also proposes joint implementation, trading of greenhouse gas permits, and recognition for energy exports with low carbon content.

Emissions trading is "absolutely critical" for Canadian industry to meet Ottawa's targets, says Rick Hyndman of the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers. Canada's fossil fuel industry otherwise views the Canadian proposals unfavourably. Environmentalists feel the do not go far enough.

The Canadian announcement at Kyoto followed the release the week before of two Environment Canada reports predicting a severe impact from climate change on Canada. Included in the assessment are a predicted increase in the frequency and severity of heat waves, which would lead to more illnesses and deaths; decreased water supply; a northward migration of Canadian forests; and changes in the frequency and severity of extreme weather events, which will strain the insurance and agricultural sectors.

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