-The Inuit people see right through this and want change as well --technogy to help with landfill and ways to reduce the warming affect
Thu Mar 1, 4:14 PM
By Dennis Beckett
OTTAWA (CP) - Environment Minister John Baird says he finds it "so troubling" to see the impacts of global warming in Northern Canada, and he's promising additional measures to deal with the climate problem.
Speaking at a news conference to announce $150 million in funding for research in the Arctic as part of International Polar Year, Baird says many people don't realize that the effects of climate change are much more pronounced in the Arctic than in southern Canada.
"What is often forgotten is that those are average global temperature changes and the more north you go the greater the impact," he said Thursday. "So Canada is a country that's in for huge changes. We're going to focus on everything we can reasonably do to attack the challenge."
But he was not impressed by a study this week suggesting Canada could meet its Kyoto emissions-cutting targets by introducing carbon taxes to promote energy conservation. The cost of meeting the target was put at $100 billion over four years, or about $20 annually for a typical family.
"$100 billion would scare many Canadians," he said.
The effect of warming is amplified in the North because the surface of the Earth becomes less reflective as ice and snow disappear. Solar energy is absorbed by earth and water rather than being reflected away, reinforcing the warming trend in what scientists call a positive feedback loop.
The Harper government has taken the position that Canada's Kyoto objective - a six per cent cut in carbon emissions from 1990 levels by 2012 - is unachievable. But it has not announced a new target that it thinks would be achievable.
Baird says intensity targets for heavy industry will be announced soon, but these would permit total emissions to continue rising. He suggested the government's climate policy is still evolving.
"We've got to look at what meaningful steps we can take now," he said. "I'm seven weeks into the job and I've had the opportunity to meet with two of three territories and talk about the urgent challenge it (climate change) is representing today, not just for native and Inuit."
Mary Simon of the Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, which represents Canada's Inuit, says Ottawa should fulfil its commitments under the Kyoto Protocol.
"As Inuit, yes, that is our position. We have supported the objectives and the timelines that were put forth in the protocol." Simon said she will raise the issue when she meets with Baird.
Simon says additional research is a good thing, but there is already enough evidence of the need to act on climate change.
"There's no question that it's urgent, it's getting worse and it's becoming more evident to the rest of the world.
Some 50,000 scientists from 63 countries will participate in International Polar Year, which is marked every 50 years, and this time will focus on climate change. Canada will fund 44 projects in the Arctic, covering not only climate change but the health of ecosystems, wildlife and human populations.
At a ceremony in Paris, Prince Albert of Monaco called climate change the most important challenge of the century.
It's estimated that the Arctic is losing an ice span the size of Lake Superior every year, raising the prospect of an ice-free Arctic by 2050. ca.news.yahoo.com/s/capress/0...polar_year_cda (external - login to view)