Get Out of Kyoto While it’s Still Possible: Stephen Harper should guide our nation away from the most costly hoax in the history of science

Commentary, Environment, Tom Harris

At the end of 2012, Canada’s international reputation will suffer a black eye unless Prime Minister Stephen Harper comes clean on the climate file. The Kyoto Protocol will then expire and, if we are still party to the agreement, our gross violation of this treaty’s emission limits will be highlighted to the world.

Canada’s ratification of the protocol was one of the last acts of prime minister Jean Chrétien’s regime and taints the Liberal party to this day. Harper should feel absolutely no obligation to protect any part of that legacy. He knows that much of the science that props up the climate scare is unfounded and he has stated repeatedly that Canada has absolutely no chance of meeting our Kyoto commitments.

For that reason alone, the new government should work toward making it politically feasible to withdraw from the agreement by the end of this year, rather than break what many around the world regard as international law.

According to the protocol’s article 27, we have been able to withdraw without penalty from Kyoto since early 2008, “three years from the date on which this Protocol has entered into force,” i.e. 2005. The article also specifies that our complete divorce from the treaty would come into force one year after the notice of our intention to quit the agreement. This means that, for Canada to not be in violation of the Protocol when it expires, we must announce our withdrawal by the end of 2011.

To set the stage for this important action, the new Conservative government needs to do several things.

First and foremost, it must stop using the rhetoric of climate alarmism and call a spade a spade: Carbon dioxide is not a pollutant and the influence on global climate of human emissions of this benign gas is highly uncertain. Climate always changes, sometimes dangerously so. Consequently, we should focus on helping our most vulnerable citizens prepare for whatever climate change nature throws at us next, cooling being by far the most dangerous possibility. But the vast sums being funnelled into trying to halt this natural phenomenon is a grossly inappropriate use of Canadian tax dollars.

Next, the government needs to invite scientists from both sides of the debate to testify before the Commons committee on environment and sustainable development so that MPs, mass media and the public are exposed to a balanced perspective of the issue. Harper promised to examine the climate file from top to bottom before first forming a government in 2006. This never happened. While the environment committee occasionally heard from well-qualified climate skeptics while the Liberals were in power, not a single scientist skeptic has testified on Harper’s watch.

The government should freeze all spending on campaigns that are effectively oriented toward furthering the climate scare and supposed “solutions” such as carbon dioxide “sequestration” underground. This includes suspending the funding for all climate mitigation education being conducted by environmental non-governmental organizations and government-supported agencies, such as the National Roundtable on the Environment and the Economy.

Environment Canada’s activism needs to be reined in, with its climate-change-related Web site and other promotional material withdrawn pending a complete review and re-creation with the input of independent experts.

The section of the proposed federal budget that references “Canada’s Clean Air Agenda” must be rewritten so that “clean air” and climate change are dealt with, and funded, separately instead of being inappropriately linked together. The budget’s clean air components must focus on reducing pollution. The climate-change components must focus on appropriate adaptation efforts and continuing research into understanding the causes of climate change. All funding for mitigation actions must be removed entirely from the new budget.

To derail the climate scare in Canada, the government is going to need allies from across the political spectrum, not just in Parliament but also in the mainstream media, academia and society at large. This can only happen if the current right versus left nature of the debate changes to one focused on discerning right from wrong scientifically.

No one, left or right, socialist or capitalist, wants to pour money down the drain on a non-issue when so many important concerns need support. However, expanding the tent of those who take a realistic view of climate change can only happen if the debate is reframed into one that is wholly non-partisan.

Getting Canada out of Kyoto and finally off the irrational climate-change bandwagon would be one of the greatest services the new Harper government could do for our country. It would divert vast financial and intellectual resources currently tied up by the climate scare to society’s truly important concerns, such as health care, education, rebuilding our crumbling infrastructure and properly tacking real environmental issues. Now that he has a majority, Harper should guide our nation away from the most expensive hoax in the history of science.