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Thursday, April 5, 2007

Kyoto: It's like your RRSP

Kyoto goals are more strict than we've been told, experts say:

It's well known by Kyoto insiders that the target all federal parties talk about -- roughly a 26-per-cent cut in carbon emissions by 2012 -- is just the start. It would leave the country far behind its legal requirements.

The single most important part of the protocol is a twist that's seldom mentioned in public: Canada's target is a five-year average, not a goal to reach by the end of the Kyoto period.

"We can't just hit the target once at the end of the period," said economics professor Ross McKitrick of the University of Guelph. "If we are 100 megatonnes over in the first year, we have to be 100 megatonnes under the target another year to offset the first year."

Kyoto measures carbon emissions in megatonnes, or millions of tonnes.

Canada's average emissions over Kyoto's full 2008-2012 measuring period must be 26-per-cent below today's level.

The country hasn't made any reduction yet, and the Jan. 1 start of the Kyoto period is just 271 days away. Carbon emissions have risen steadily for years.

This means that by 2012, Canada must reach reduction levels far deeper than 26 per cent, so the average cut will be 26 per cent.

It's like your RRSP, Mr. McKitrick said. If you don't contribute in the early years, you'll have to contribute much more in the final years to compensate.
Meanwhile, A new poll finds most Canadians are in favour of Canada meeting its Kyoto targets -- just as long as it doesn't cost them anything.

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