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Montreal Economic Institute questions leaders on the economic impact of the Kyoto Protocol

Montreal, December 2, 2005 – The Montreal Economic Institute (MEI) issued a questionnaire to leaders of the major federal parties today to learn their views on the economic impact of implementing the Kyoto Protocol in Canada.

“With the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Montreal this week, the time is right to inform Canadians and Quebecers about the economic impact of the Kyoto Protocol. Everyone talks about the Protocol but no one provides real data or the scope of efforts required to achieve the 30% reduction in CO2 emissions by 2012,” said MEI President Michel Kelly-Gagnon.

The merits and drawbacks of the Kyoto Accord are the subject of numerous debates, but many questions remain unanswered.

The following five questions were sent to federal leaders:

  • 1. On its Web site, the Government of Canada still represents the temperature change curve in a ‘hockey stick’ formation despite the fact that scientists have discovered many shortcomings in this representation. The federal government even prints this curve on posters that it distributes to schools across the country. The curve was the scientific pillar of the Kyoto Protocol. But the pillar has fallen and even the Protocol’s proponents avoid using it today. Do you think the Government of Canada should follow in their footsteps?
  • 2. The Canadian Chamber of Commerce estimated that implementation of the Kyoto Protocol will cost $30 billion, or 2.5% of the GDP by 2010. Other more alarmist specialists estimate the cost at $75 billion. A document from the Liberal Cabinet that became public in 2002 predicts a loss of 200 000 jobs and a decrease of 1.5% in the GDP. How much do you believe implementation of Kyoto will cost?
  • 3. Studies confirm that the Kyoto Protocol will have a minimal effect on total greenhouse gas emissions over the next decades and will have no real influence on the evolution of the earth’s climate change. We are also told that the Kyoto Protocol is the first in a long line of necessary steps to control global warming. Do you intend to continue this process by signing or supporting the signing of other international agreements to control climate change?
  • 4. How will Canada achieve the targets established under the Kyoto Protocol? Will implementation of the Accord be accompanied by draconian increases in gas taxes to convince Canadians to streamline their car travel? Will the state limit the number of vehicles per family? Will SUVs be prohibited? Will the state require Canadians to stop heating with oil in favour of electricity? In other words, what concrete measures can Canadians expect?
  • 5. Increases in emissions are directly related to demographic growth, regardless of the country. That being said, targets set out in the Kyoto Protocol are absolute numbers that don’t account for this determining factor. Given our strong demographic growth resulting from immigration, Canada will have to reduce the volume of emissions per inhabitant even more. On the other hand, some European countries experiencing demographic decline would be free to increase their emissions per capita. What do you intend to do to ensure that Canadians are not penalized due to the country’s demographic growth?

“These are the five questions we’re asking our political leaders. Canadians deserve objective and comprehensive information on the economic impact of the Kyoto Protocol,” said Kelly-Gagnon.

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Information: Patrick Leblanc, Director of Communications, Montreal Economic Institute, Tel.: (514) 273-0969 / Cell.: (514) 571-6400 / E-mail: pleblanc@iedm.org

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