Off course on greenhouse gases

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A joint meeting of Canada's federal, provincial and territorial energy and environment ministers on December 12 in Toronto recognised that current government and industry actions are not sufficient to meet Canada's goal of stabilising greenhouse gas emissions at 1990 levels by the year 2000. Levels had risen 9.4% between 1990 and 1995, the meeting was told, and the government predicts that by the year 2000 greenhouse gas emissions will be about 8% above 1990 levels and will rise thereafter. Last year's estimate of the "greenhouse gas gap" was about 12%. New measures announced by the Canadian government to meet the target have met with scorn from environmental observers. "Canada has abandoned its Rio commitment . . . in reality if not in a formal statement," says Greenpeace Canada's climate campaigner Kevin Jardine. "Canada is at the back of the pack compared to other industrialised countries." He also says that the 8% estimate is "clearly false," and the true figure should be much higher. Jardine adds that climate change will have dangerous impacts on Canada, but that the federal government remains oblivious to everything but the shrill demands for inaction by the fossil fuel industry. He added that the ruling Liberals seem to have decided that the views of a few wealthy companies in the Alberta oil patch matter more than future of our children and grandchildren.

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