Canada Withdraws from Kyoto Accord

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Re: Canada Withdraws from Kyoto Accord

Postby sourmìlk » Wed Dec 14, 2011 6:41 am UTC

But that's like saying that water treatment costs too much money because it doesn't treat everybody everywhere. That's not the goal, necessarily.

And even if we were to find a cure for all cancers ever tomorrow, we've poured billions of dollars into it. According to this website, it would only cost $10 billion to give everybody in the world (who doesn't already have clean water) clean water for 20 years, whereas cancer research costs that much just in the USA for two years. And that's just the research.
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Re: Canada Withdraws from Kyoto Accord

Postby Ghostbear » Wed Dec 14, 2011 6:46 am UTC

sourmìlk wrote:But that's like saying that water treatment costs too much money because it doesn't treat everybody everywhere. That's not the goal, necessarily.

And even if we were to find a cure for all cancers ever tomorrow, we've poured billions of dollars into it. According to this website, it would only cost $10 billion to give everybody in the world (who doesn't already have clean water) clean water for 20 years, whereas cancer research costs that much just in the USA for two years. And that's just the research.

Doesn't everything you just said here hurt the points you've been trying to make?
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Re: Canada Withdraws from Kyoto Accord

Postby LaserGuy » Wed Dec 14, 2011 6:48 am UTC

sourmìlk wrote:But that's like saying that water treatment costs too much money because it doesn't treat everybody everywhere. That's not the goal, necessarily.

And even if we were to find a cure for all cancers ever tomorrow, we've poured billions of dollars into it. According to this website, it would only cost $10 billion to give everybody in the world (who doesn't already have clean water) clean water for 20 years, whereas cancer research costs that much just in the USA for two years. And that's just the research.


My point exactly: from pure economic morality, cancer research is, compared to many other alternatives, such as water treatment, an extremely expensive and inefficient way to save lives. It is, by and large, a first-world problem.
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Re: Canada Withdraws from Kyoto Accord

Postby sourmìlk » Wed Dec 14, 2011 6:50 am UTC

Actually, unless cancer treatments once a cure is found cost less than $0.50 per person per year, I think I just refuted my own point.
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Re: Canada Withdraws from Kyoto Accord

Postby CorruptUser » Wed Dec 14, 2011 7:30 am UTC

LaserGuy wrote:
sourmìlk wrote:But that's like saying that water treatment costs too much money because it doesn't treat everybody everywhere. That's not the goal, necessarily.

And even if we were to find a cure for all cancers ever tomorrow, we've poured billions of dollars into it. According to this website, it would only cost $10 billion to give everybody in the world (who doesn't already have clean water) clean water for 20 years, whereas cancer research costs that much just in the USA for two years. And that's just the research.


My point exactly: from pure economic morality, cancer research is, compared to many other alternatives, such as water treatment, an extremely expensive and inefficient way to save lives. It is, by and large, a first-world problem.


Cancer research is really done because the people with money/power are at risk for cancer; people that are not at risk from unsafe drinking water. $10B would save a few million people over in Crapistan, but that $10B could save a few thousand of the people with enough wealth to donate $10B.
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Re: Canada Withdraws from Kyoto Accord

Postby sourmìlk » Wed Dec 14, 2011 7:48 am UTC

13% of all deaths in 2007 were caused by cancer. It seems dangerous to generalize with a number that large.
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Re: Canada Withdraws from Kyoto Accord

Postby Axman » Wed Dec 14, 2011 7:55 am UTC

LaserGuy wrote:My point exactly: from pure economic morality, cancer research is, compared to many other alternatives, such as water treatment, an extremely expensive and inefficient way to save lives. It is, by and large, a first-world problem.

You can't, in earnest, be comparing pasteurization to the cure to cancer. That's like saying archery and the Voyager Program are interchangeable. You can fit the Kuiper Belt between either.
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Re: Canada Withdraws from Kyoto Accord

Postby Zamfir » Wed Dec 14, 2011 8:25 am UTC

CorruptUser wrote:
Cancer research is really done because the people with money/power are at risk for cancer; people that are not at risk from unsafe drinking water. $10B would save a few million people over in Crapistan, but that $10B could save a few thousand of the people with enough wealth to donate $10B.

The "save a few million" is a bit overblown, though. There are people who die because they (or people around them) lack a few thousand dollar to spend on the critical moment, or because institutions that could have prevented the deaths lacked such funds in the past. But those people are in general surrounded by many of such risks, and taking away some of them will mostly just shift mortality to other causes. That still means that money can save lives, but 10 billion for a few million lives underestimates that cost.

For example, malaria kills only a small fraction of the people who get infected. Those that die are largely very young children, many of them underfed. Even with a perfect malaria cure, many of those children will die at a young age anyway. You'd need requires a complete change of the society they live in to change that, which takes far more than 10 billion. And really can't be bought with money alone, even if well-spent money can sometimes help.

Of course, it's still true that rich people and rich countries spend more money on saving (and otherwise improving) their own lives, even if the factors involved aren't really as large as a thousand. 'This is not in itself a big tragedy or moral failure. Individual people don't have a responsibility to spend all of their money from behind a Rawlsian veil of ignorance, towards the worldwide cause where they think it can do most good. It's praiseworthy (or even a required amount of decency) to spend some of your money that way, but that leaves more than enough for large worldwide discrepancies in medical spending .

To bring this back more to the OP: I don't think the direct comparison between CO2 reduction and charity causes is appropriate. The essense of a charity cause is that the givers are not giving out of a responsibility or obligation to the cause. Spending on malaria vaccines or clean drinking water is not a compensation, it's a gift. And that limits how much of it can reasonbly be expected, even from good people.

But damage resulting from climate change (whether in lives or otherwise) is most definitely a responsibility of the people who are emitting greenhouse gases. It's long and diffuse chain of responsibility, so starting your car engine isn't miniature murder. But it's still true that rich people should bear the burden of greenhouse gas reductions because they are emitting them in the first place, not because they are rich and charitable . While they aren't causing malaria or dirty drinking water.
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Re: Canada Withdraws from Kyoto Accord

Postby Angua » Wed Dec 14, 2011 11:54 am UTC

I'd like to point out that cancer isn't a first world problem - eg 80% of the cases of cervical cancer are in the developing world. We need a better vaccine for HPV - they need to have at least the 7 most common strains rather than the 2 most common ones for it to help cut most of the cases around the world.

Also, there are already some pretty amazing things out there for cleaning water - it still costs money to get the equipment there.

Finally, even if you don't count research costs for both areas, saying that finding a cure for cancer would be more economically viable is a bit ridiculous - you still have to treat each new case of cancer as it comes (because the only way you'd have a preventative cure would be if cancer was a monolithic entity), so it would keep costing money, just like you would have to give villages the gadgets they have to clean water ever time the issue comes up.

As to how Canada will be affected by global warming at the very least from the burdens placed by mass immigration from the poor countries as life there becomes completely unbearable, as well as the fact that I'm sure some of the food requirements of Canada come from crops in poorer countries. I'm sure that there will be other effects on their environment as well, but the ignorance of saying, well the poor countries will be affected first and the most so it's really not Canada's problem seemed massively ignorant.
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Re: Canada Withdraws from Kyoto Accord

Postby LaserGuy » Wed Dec 14, 2011 4:57 pm UTC

Axman wrote:
LaserGuy wrote:My point exactly: from pure economic morality, cancer research is, compared to many other alternatives, such as water treatment, an extremely expensive and inefficient way to save lives. It is, by and large, a first-world problem.


You can't, in earnest, be comparing pasteurization to the cure to cancer. That's like saying archery and the Voyager Program are interchangeable. You can fit the Kuiper Belt between either.


I'm not sure I follow at all what you're saying. The story goes like this. We have a finite amount of money X to throw at a problem. If we wish to use that money to be saving people's lives, economic morality would dictate that the best option is the one that maximizes the number of lives saved per dollar. Pasteurization is a mostly solved problem, but there's still ~2 billion people without proper access, and water-borne illnesses, even if not fatal, can be pretty nasty. Cancer is not a solved problem, and is, in fact, a very hard one--we've already spent hundreds of billions of dollars and millions of man-years working on it, and still aren't close to solving it. The returns in lives saved per dollar for cancer research is worse than it is for water treatment, so it follows that we should be spending more money from our pool on water treatment than on cancer.
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Re: Canada Withdraws from Kyoto Accord

Postby Vaniver » Wed Dec 14, 2011 5:25 pm UTC

LaserGuy wrote:If it is economically beneficial to trample the rights of others, why should we not do it?
The question suggests contradictory premises, so let's unpack it.

There's an action μ that provides benefit X to party A and cost Y to party B. Under a negative rights scenario, μ is morally inadmissible unless party B agrees (probably people party A provided them with more than Y as compensation, and so this won't happen if X<Y). Under a positive rights scenario, μ may be morally mandated (hopefully only if X>Y).

What I'm describing is the aggregation of consent: suppose that action μ will kill one person in the country over the course of the year, but we don't know who it will be ahead of time. It's also difficult / impossible to opt out- either everyone is at risk, or no one. The benefit is massive, though, and so collectively it's decided that μ should happen, so long as the collective gets enough compensation for the death of one person.

Rothbard's position is that if a single person wants to opt out, it is morally inadmissible for the collective to allow action μ, as that is a violation of the rights of the person that wants to opt out. I think that morality is practically inadmissible, but think that allowing people to engage in behavior that puts others at risk without charging them for that risk is inefficient and wasteful (of human lives).

LaserGuy wrote:My point exactly: from pure economic morality, cancer research is, compared to many other alternatives, such as water treatment, an extremely expensive and inefficient way to save lives. It is, by and large, a first-world problem.
Well, "save lives" is too fuzzy a concept for a pure economic morality. You'd have to talk instead about something like increasing QALYs, weighted further by productive capacity, which would probably result in the average American year being worth more than the average African year, possibly by a very large amount.

Zamfir wrote:It's long and diffuse chain of responsibility, so starting your car engine isn't miniature murder. But it's still true that rich people should bear the burden of greenhouse gas reductions because they are emitting them in the first place
It's not clear to me that either of those claims are correct. Why not consider pollution miniature murder and pay the weregeld? Why treat a unit of CO2 emitted in America differently from a unit of CO2 emitted in Africa, when they both go into the same atmospheric stockpile?
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Re: Canada Withdraws from Kyoto Accord

Postby morriswalters » Wed Dec 14, 2011 6:00 pm UTC

Vaniver wrote:It's not clear to me that either of those claims are correct. Why not consider pollution miniature murder and pay the weregeld? Why treat a unit of CO2 emitted in America differently from a unit of CO2 emitted in Africa, when they both go into the same atmospheric stockpile?


Since CO2 is a cumulative product of use over time, would that mean that the industrialized nations should absorb a significant potion of that cost?
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Re: Canada Withdraws from Kyoto Accord

Postby Axman » Wed Dec 14, 2011 6:12 pm UTC

LaserGuy wrote:The story goes like this. We have a finite amount of money X to throw at a problem. If we wish to use that money to be saving people's lives, economic morality would dictate that the best option is the one that maximizes the number of lives saved per dollar... The returns in lives saved per dollar for cancer research is worse than it is for water treatment, so it follows that we should be spending more money from our pool on water treatment than on cancer.

That's waaay too narrow a perspective. Access to water is something humanity's had figured out since before agriculture. If you don't have access to water, drinking or otherwise, it isn't because no one is willing to buy any to give you, it's that you live in a completely inextricable shithole. It's because you're Somali, and if someone so much as airlifts a pallet of Aquafina to you it will start a Third Intifada.

So while water is comparatively cheap, it's also not the issue at hand. We treat cancer because we can treat it, not because it is the most palatable of options to spend money on. A cure for Mogadishu is long overdue, but the cost easily eclipses cancer.

Also, the phrase "economic morality" is odd. It seems to me that there's morality, or not, but not flavors of it. I'm not a relativist.

As per the OP, this doesn't come as much of a surprise to me. Canada only stands to benefit from warming...
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Re: Canada Withdraws from Kyoto Accord

Postby PeterCai » Wed Dec 14, 2011 8:59 pm UTC

Axman wrote:That's waaay too narrow a perspective. Access to water is something humanity's had figured out since before agriculture. If you don't have access to water, drinking or otherwise, it isn't because no one is willing to buy any to give you, it's that you live in a completely inextricable shithole. It's because you're Somali, and if someone so much as airlifts a pallet of Aquafina to you it will start a Third Intifada.

So while water is comparatively cheap, it's also not the issue at hand. We treat cancer because we can treat it, not because it is the most palatable of options to spend money on. A cure for Mogadishu is long overdue, but the cost easily eclipses cancer.

Also, the phrase "economic morality" is odd. It seems to me that there's morality, or not, but not flavors of it. I'm not a relativist.

As per the OP, this doesn't come as much of a surprise to me. Canada only stands to benefit from warming...


I don't quite understand your point against clean water access. Is it that it's a third world problem, therefore we shouldn't solve it, or that no solution will solve the fact that one live in a shithole so one shouldn't bother? Not being sarcastic or condescending here, just trying to understand.

I don't think doing something because we can is a good justification. We can solve a lot of problems if we throw our resources at it, but it doesn't make solving these problems worth while.

Cancer is NOT a first world problem btw, and I fail to see how anyone can think that. It affects both the rich and the poor, the difference being that the rich can afford treatments while the poor can't. Because of limited resources and information, cancers are far more fatal and numerous in developing countries. Sure, you can make the case that cancer research exists because it affects the rich, but that doesn't mean the poor won't benefit from it.

It's ridiculous to think that Canada can somehow benefits from global warming. Canada depends on it's natural resources industries, such as lumber, fishery, and oil to fuel it's economy. Climate change has already negatively impacted the lumber and fishery industries. This caused the government to shift it's focus to the oil industry, which caused massive environmental destruction in Canada. I mean, what, do you think that all of a sudden Canadian north will become lush futile lands? CLIMATE CHANGE DOES NOT WORK THAT WAY, GOOD NIGHT.

On why Canada withdrew, and why they withdrew at this moment, it's because shit is getting real. As it stands, there's no way that Canada can meet the emission reduction pledge. To comply with the protocol, Canada will have to spend 14 billions buying carbon credits. They withdrew because there's simply no way that Canada will be able to afford that. In other words, they dropped the class because they are going to fail the finals.

Also:
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/pol ... le2270216/

The irony is that, even though China and India are the leading polluters, they actually do try to comply with the protocol.
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Re: Canada Withdraws from Kyoto Accord

Postby Chuff » Wed Dec 14, 2011 9:21 pm UTC

I know I'm behind, but
poxic wrote:Have I mentioned how disappointed I was that Harper won a majority government? Because I am.
I don't think it's really fair to blame Harper this. It was clear from the beginning that Chretien signed the accord with no intention of following through, knowing his successors would have to deal with the fallout.
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Vaniver wrote:So, what countries have hit their Kyoto targets?
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Just to address this, consider which countries hit their targets. Nordic countries, Benelux: good job. Otherwise: 1990 was chosen for a reason. The UK switched from coal to natural gas in the 90s, and the soviet union collapsed in 1991, collapsing the economies of all these Eastern European states that hit their targets, and incorporating East Germany into West Germany.
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Re: Canada Withdraws from Kyoto Accord

Postby Dark567 » Wed Dec 14, 2011 9:27 pm UTC

Chuff wrote: Nordic countries,
By Nordic countries, do you mean Sweden? Because that's the only one that hit its target, although Finland came close.
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Re: Canada Withdraws from Kyoto Accord

Postby lutzj » Wed Dec 14, 2011 9:34 pm UTC

It also looks like all three Benelux countries exceeded their targets.
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Re: Canada Withdraws from Kyoto Accord

Postby Dark567 » Wed Dec 14, 2011 9:39 pm UTC

lutzj wrote:It also looks like all three Benelux countries exceeded their targets.
Well, that graph is through '09, and the targets are for '12... So countries that are close could still make it.
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Re: Canada Withdraws from Kyoto Accord

Postby Chuff » Wed Dec 14, 2011 9:54 pm UTC

Dark567 wrote:
lutzj wrote:It also looks like all three Benelux countries exceeded their targets.
Well, that graph is through '09, and the targets are for '12... So countries that are close could still make it.

That was kind of my implication. Belgium and Finland are very close to their targets, and Denmark and Luxembourg have at least reduced their emissions significantly. I was not paying very close attention though, I admit. The Netherlands and Norway are both way off.
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Re: Canada Withdraws from Kyoto Accord

Postby Vaniver » Wed Dec 14, 2011 10:21 pm UTC

morriswalters wrote:Since CO2 is a cumulative product of use over time, would that mean that the industrialized nations should absorb a significant potion of that cost?
Sort of. We have a current CO2 stock in the atmosphere, a max recommended CO2 stock, and an estimate of what the CO2 stock was before the industrial revolution. The difference between the max recommended CO2 stock and the current CO2 stock is a sort of atmospheric global wealth. Which country draws down on that wealth doesn't matter from a physical point of view- you're still running out. It matters from a social point of view, though, because drawing down on that wealth is locally beneficial (but there's a fixed supply set to run out soon). It's like if the bank just let you withdraw money from the bank's general funds, rather than tracking accounts separately and only letting you withdraw from your account.

One approach is to parcel that remaining stock out to owners and let them trade it. (Cap and trade, except in absolute amounts rather than annually.) How that should be parceled out is a political question: it may be best to give the lion's share of the remaining stock to countries who have not industrialized, because the industrialized countries have already used up so much of our common stock. Those sort of equity concerns are the political obstacles standing in the way of adopting the market mechanism that will be in place once wealth is allocated. I'm more interested in what mechanism happens afterwards.

If that mechanism treats different countries differently- like Kyoto did- then it's deeply flawed. Suppose the bank took two dollars out of your account whenever they gave you one dollar, and gave Bob two dollars whenever he withdrew one from his account. If they let you transfer money between accounts, then you've got a pump: you transfer money from your account to Bob's account, Bob withdraws the money, then gives you at least 50 cents for every dollar you gave him.

Similarly, Kyoto called for Annex I countries to cut emissions, but does not call for developing countries to cut emissions. Thus, if I move my factory from the US (Annex I) to Mexico (not Annex I), Kyoto registers that as a decrease in emissions even though it represents an increase (as there are, at the very least, more transportation costs involved).

That's one of the reasons why the US refused to sign- another was the choice of reference year. As pointed out, it's easy for Eastern Europe to have lower emissions than 1990. The US, though, had major growth throughout the 90s- which includes growth in emissions. (That's an example of the political squabbling over wealth that will occur before any deal like this can go through.)
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Re: Canada Withdraws from Kyoto Accord

Postby sourmìlk » Thu Dec 15, 2011 1:36 am UTC

Axman wrote:That's waaay too narrow a perspective. Access to water is something humanity's had figured out since before agriculture. If you don't have access to water, drinking or otherwise, it isn't because no one is willing to buy any to give you, it's that you live in a completely inextricable shithole. It's because you're Somali, and if someone so much as airlifts a pallet of Aquafina to you it will start a Third Intifada.

So while water is comparatively cheap, it's also not the issue at hand. We treat cancer because we can treat it, not because it is the most palatable of options to spend money on. A cure for Mogadishu is long overdue, but the cost easily eclipses cancer.

I'm not sure this is entirely fair. Even if a population is warlike, that doesn't remove a responsibility to assist that population to the degree you can. We all know that I have a well established track record of disapproving of Gazan reactions to Israeli aid, and even though cutting off aid entirely would, in a horrible sense of the word, solve the problem of Gaza being at war with Israel, that's still not an appropriate course of action to take.

Also, the phrase "economic morality" is odd. It seems to me that there's morality, or not, but not flavors of it. I'm not a relativist.

It's not so much a flavor as it is a subset or section. Economic morality is just the morality regarding economics. It doesn't necessarily mean that moral principles change when discussing economics.
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Re: Canada Withdraws from Kyoto Accord

Postby LaserGuy » Thu Dec 15, 2011 4:40 pm UTC

Axman wrote:
LaserGuy wrote:The story goes like this. We have a finite amount of money X to throw at a problem. If we wish to use that money to be saving people's lives, economic morality would dictate that the best option is the one that maximizes the number of lives saved per dollar... The returns in lives saved per dollar for cancer research is worse than it is for water treatment, so it follows that we should be spending more money from our pool on water treatment than on cancer.


That's waaay too narrow a perspective. Access to water is something humanity's had figured out since before agriculture. If you don't have access to water, drinking or otherwise, it isn't because no one is willing to buy any to give you, it's that you live in a completely inextricable shithole. It's because you're Somali, and if someone so much as airlifts a pallet of Aquafina to you it will start a Third Intifada.


Lack of good water is a widespread problem. India and China, for example, still have significant problems with their water supplies, even in major population centres.
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Re: Canada Withdraws from Kyoto Accord

Postby stevey_frac » Fri Dec 16, 2011 5:51 am UTC

poxic wrote:Have I mentioned how disappointed I was that Harper won a majority government? Because I am.


So, what you would prefer is the previous liberal government, lying by paying lipservice to the treaty, and then intentionally doing absolutely nothing about it?

No federal Canadian government has done anything serious about climate change, and only one provincial government I am aware of has done anything, and that's McGuinty in Ontario who's green energy program has been lambasted by the auditor general for all kinds of contracts that didn't follow the proper bidding process etc.

If McGuinty really wanted to do something about climate change, he'd build that second nuke at Darlington, which would move us to something like, 80% non CO2 emitting electricity in Ontario. It's cheap, it's proven, and we could start soon.

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Re: Canada Withdraws from Kyoto Accord

Postby LaserGuy » Fri Dec 16, 2011 5:56 am UTC

stevey_frac wrote:
poxic wrote:Have I mentioned how disappointed I was that Harper won a majority government? Because I am.


So, what you would prefer is the previous liberal government, lying by paying lipservice to the treaty, and then intentionally doing absolutely nothing about it?

No federal Canadian government has done anything serious about climate change, and only one provincial government I am aware of has done anything, and that's McGuinty in Ontario who's green energy program has been lambasted by the auditor general for all kinds of contracts that didn't follow the proper bidding process etc.

If McGuinty really wanted to do something about climate change, he'd build that second nuke at Darlington, which would move us to something like, 80% non CO2 emitting electricity in Ontario. It's cheap, it's proven, and we could start soon.

--Steve


BC, Quebec, and Alberta all have carbon taxes of some form or other.
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Re: Canada Withdraws from Kyoto Accord

Postby stevey_frac » Fri Dec 16, 2011 6:14 am UTC

Didn't know that. That's kinda cool. Especially the carbon tax aimed at the Tarsands.

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Re: Canada Withdraws from Kyoto Accord

Postby Nylonathatep » Tue Dec 20, 2011 5:50 pm UTC

Can I offer another perspective in this argument?

http://fullcomment.nationalpost.com/tag/oil-sands/

The main reason why Canada cannot meet it's Kyoto target is because of it's developement in the Alerta oil sand. The development of oil sand is necessary because U.S want to cure it's dependency of Oil from the middle east. Hense the Keystone pipeline and such.

While I believe that reducing emission is an admirable goal, I can see a great benefit if the U.S and Canada stays out of the political mess and maybe avoiding a war with Iran. One thing for sure. A war with Iran will have a dramtically different outcome in comparison to the war with Iraq:

http://www.theepochtimes.com/n2/china-news/chinese-admiral-threatens-world-war-to-protect-iran-154434.html

Russia also got vested interest in Iran too:

http://www.nationalpost.com/news/Power+shifts+push+Mideast+closer/5862941/story.html



Ofcourse most of the common population didn't look further then the enviromental issue and explore the political implications of the issue at hand.
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Nylonathatep
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