Canada's new environment minister says no to trading emissions credits
EDMONTON (CP) - Canada's new environment minister says she won't support trading emissions credits with other nations or any other international deal that does not have a "direct environmental benefit to Canadians."
Rona Ambrose said she does not see the trading of emissions credits with other countries as being a high priority in her mandate of "cleaning up the air Canadians breathe."
"On Kyoto, I will say that our government will not be shipping hot air credits overseas. Our focus is on a domestic solution," Ambrose told reporters Wednesday following a one-hour meeting with Alberta Environment Minister Guy Boutilier.
"We draw the line at ensuring that there's a direct benefit to any of the legislative mechanisms or any of the international agreements that we are presently engaged in and that we will become engaged in in the future."
But Ambrose refused to discuss specifics of what will happen to the Kyoto accord or whether the Conservative government will scrap the deal to reduce Canada's emissions.
Details of her position on Kyoto must first be discussed with other members of the new federal cabinet and the Conservative caucus, she said.
Ambrose would only say that clean air is the mandate she has been given by Prime Minister Stephen Harper and she will use any mechanism at her disposal to do that.
But she also said her government's opposition to the trading emissions credits should come as no surprise to Canadians.
"There's pretty wide consensus now from environmental groups and from industry that that's something that isn't an advantage to Canada and to the environment," she said.
"That is something that will not happen under a Conservative government. The prime minister has been clear about that."
The whole concept of trading emissions credits was set up under a global trading arrangement to help countries meet their targets under the deal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions that cause global warming.
Countries unable to meet their targets would purchase carbon credits from countries that had exceeded their targets.
Ambrose, an Edmonton MP, did policy work for the Alberta government on the Kyoto issue before she ran for office.
Although Alberta has always had a firm stance against the accord, Ambrose said Wednesday that she was not directly involved in drafting any of the province's anti-Kyoto positions.
Alberta was Ambrose's first stop on a tour of the country to meet with her provincial counterparts to discuss environmental issues, including the Kyoto accord.
ŠThe Canadian Press, 2006