Skip to Content
 

Proceedings of the Standing Senate Committee on
Energy, the Environment and Natural Resources

Issue 16 - Evidence, April 24, 2007


OTTAWA, Tuesday, April 24, 2007

The Standing Senate Committee on Energy, the Environment and Natural Resources, to which was referred Bill C- 288, to ensure Canada meets its global climate change obligations under the Kyoto Protocol, met this day at 5:37 p.m. to give consideration to the bill.

Senator Ethel Cochrane (Deputy Chairman) in the chair.

[English]

The Deputy Chairman: Good evening, everyone. It is my pleasure to welcome you to the Standing Senate Committee on Energy, the Environment and Natural Resources. Today, we will continue our study on Bill C-288, an act to ensure Canada meets its global climate change obligations under the Kyoto Protocol.

Appearing before us this evening, on behalf of Pembina Institute, we have Mr. Matthew Bramley; and from the Forest Products Association of Canada, we have Mr. Avrim Lazar. Am I pronouncing your name right?

Avrim Lazar, President and Chief Executive Officer, Forest Products Association of Canada: Yes, perfectly.

The Deputy Chairman: Wonderful.

Before we begin, I would like to briefly introduce the members of the committee. We have Senator Robichaud from New Brunswick, who is replacing Senator Sibbeston. We have Senator Dawson from Quebec, Senator Mitchell from Alberta, and Senator Spivak from Manitoba. On my right, we have Senator Angus from Quebec, Senator Tkachuk from Saskatchewan and Senator Adams from Nunavut.

Senator Spivak would like to make an introduction as a follow up from our last meeting.

Senator Spivak: This is just to correct an error. Last Thursday, in the course of questioning, I raised, with the Minister of the Environment John Baird, the potential for meeting our Kyoto commitments, in part by carbon offsets and in particular through emissions trading. I mentioned the Chicago Climate Exchange, CCX. He replied, and I quote, ``My job as Minister of the Environment is I must get the facts. They have no regime.'' I said that the United States is trading carbon and NOx to which he replied, ``NOx and SOx, but not carbon.'' Immediately following the meeting I sent the minister the following information from the Chicago Climate Exchange website: CCX is the world's first and North America's only voluntary, legally binding, rules-based, gas emission reduction and trading system. In February, prices for CCX carbon financial instrument rose approximately 20 per cent over the course of a month and prices climbed. Trading is heavy, but today prices have returned to the U.S. $3 range, a very far cry from U.S. $195 per tonne carbon tax, used in the government's latest report.

For the benefit of senators engaged in the debate on Bill C-288, I wish to set the record straight and offer this additional fact: There are many recognizable names among the scores of enterprises, states, universities, financial firms and others who are members of the Chicago Climate Exchange. They include Rolls-Royce, Eastman Kodak, Cargill Incorporated, IBM, Safeway Incorporated, DuPont and — one of particular concern to me as a Manitoban — Manitoba Hydro.

The Deputy Chairman: Senator Fraser from Quebec has just joined our meeting.

Would you like to begin Mr. Lazar?

Mr. Lazar: Certainly. First of all, it is very good to be back here. Thank you for inviting me.

I am sure most of you know that the Forest Products Association of Canada represents the industry from coast to coast — the producers of pulp and paper, lumber and plywood all across the country. I know you hear many witnesses, and, for you, this is fairly routine. However, for us, to get the chance to talk with you and have you hear what we have to say is very important.

I would like to start with two facts of which we are very proud and I feel are worth noting. The first is that if the rest of the world managed their forests the way Canada does, we would have 20 per cent less greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. Deforestation is counting for 20 per cent. The rate of deforestation in Canada, according to the UN, is zero. If we could get the rest of the world to regenerate the forests the way we do, instead of cutting them and leaving them for agriculture, we would be far better off. I will come back to that when we talk about policy.

The second fact worth noting is that if the rest of Canada had been able to do, since 1990, what the forest industry has done, we would have exceeded the Kyoto target seven times over.

With those two beginnings, I would like to talk a little about what we believe is sound climate change policy. Borrowing from Al Gore, I would like to talk about three inconvenient truths. We believe all three have to inform what would be sound climate change policy.

The first, which Mr. Gore has been sharing with us effectively, is that we have loaded up the atmosphere with greenhouse gases. They come from human activity. They are changing the climate, and they will continue to do so unless we stop it — unless we mitigate, unless we turn off the tap. The first policy imperative, of course, is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, to do what is called mitigation.

The Canadian forest industry has, since 1990, reduced the greenhouse gas emissions by 44 per cent, seven times the Kyoto target.

Senator Angus: How much, 44 per cent?

Mr. Lazar: Yes, a 44 per cent reduction. We have not closed plants to do it; in fact, we have increased our production overall of pulp, paper and lumber by 20 per cent. However, we have changed our industrial processes to make them more efficient. We check the pressure in our trucks' tires. We have increased our energy efficiency and have switched to renewable fuels.

We believe there is a lesson in there for all of Canada: If we want to address climate change, if we want to mitigate the amount of greenhouse gases, we have to retool; we have to change how we do business.

We would like the committee to remember that any regulatory regime that is promulgated should recognize what was done since 1990. Unless the early actors, those parts of society and industry who have been responsible environmental citizens since 1990, are recognized, we will be sending a clear signal that dragging our feet until regulation is the right strategy. We cannot afford this as a country. We have to recognize in regulation what early actors do so that industry and citizens realize that we should not wait for regulation; we should do what the Canadian forest industry has done and act.

That is the first inconvenient truth. We have a lot of greenhouse gases, which are changing the climate, and we will not like it.

The second inconvenient truth is that there is no big drain on this bathtub of greenhouse gases. They will drain out very slowly, and no one will turn the tap off completely because people around the world will not stop driving cars. Everyone will start slowly retooling, but we will keep pouring greenhouse gases in. Even though we have to mitigate, we have to accept that we have to live with a changed climate.

Some people talk about adaptation as a way of living with a changed climate. It is not a bad word, but I feel it has a little bit too much fatalism in it. I would suggest we talk about preparedness. There is a huge gap, all over Canada, in our willingness to get prepared for the reality that the climate has changed, will continue to change, and that this change will change our lives. Therefore, we are urging any policy not to forget preparedness and that it should take a large place alongside mitigation as part of how we approach climate change.

It is not as politically interesting as debating which types of mitigation measures, who is tougher than whom or who has got the smarter regulatory regime. That is the subject of all the political drama now; but we need a deal with mitigation and preparedness because Canada is living and will increasingly live with a changed climate. We experienced this in the forest industry with the plague of the pine beetle, which has destroyed a forest the size of New Brunswick. However, we are not the only ones who will live with it, and we have to make preparedness a policy imperative, along with mitigation.

The third inconvenient truth is that climate change is a global sum game. If we reduce greenhouse gases and the rest of the world does not, then we still get climate change. As we move forward and do the right thing, we have to use this as a moral platform to insist that the rest of the world also move forward. Being good and righteous in Canada will be nothing but an exercise in self-aggrandizement unless we use that to convince the rest of the world to make similar reductions.

It also means that if we have a regulatory regime that exports production to places that are not controlling their greenhouse gases, what we will have done will be bad for the environment. If, for example, pulp and paper production or wood production goes to places with deforestation, where they do not regenerate the forests, it will be a net negative for the environment. If our factories move to places such as China and Brazil, where there are not greenhouse gas emission standards, it will be a net negative for the environment.

We want to keep the production here, and we want to reduce the greenhouse gases here so we can have the economic activity, do the right thing and not send economic activity to places that have less stringent standards. The only way to do that is to retool our industry. Therefore, as a third policy imperative, there has to be support for retooling. We need an economic regime that allows industry to retool very quickly so that we can continue to produce with less pollution, keep the jobs here and not send production to countries that will not have the same standards.

Senators, again, thank you. I hope that you will be able to take all three inconvenient truths into account when you send your recommendations.

Matthew Bramley, Director, Climate Change, Pembina Institute: I am the director of the climate change program at the Pembina Institute, which is one of Canada's largest environmental non-governmental organizations. The institute is a non-partisan, not-for-profit organization focused on sustainable energy solutions.

For many years, the Pembina Institute has been a prominent centre of analysis of and advocacy for stronger action to curb climate change. I have worked full time since 1999 on Canada's response to the climate change issue.

Since I already testified on Bill C-288 last November to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development, I do not propose to repeat all the details of that testimony now. However, I will outline briefly the three reasons why the Pembina Institute strongly supports Bill C-288.

First, complying with the Kyoto Protocol is a legal obligation under international law. From this perspective, Bill C- 288 should not be controversial. Essentially, the bill merely reaffirms in domestic law what is already Canada's obligation under international law.

It follows that the only plausible ground for opposing this bill is the position that Canada should break international law. Such a position is extremely troubling.

Ms. Jutta Brunnée, a law professor at the University of Toronto, wrote in The Toronto Star on February 4, 2007:

Honouring treaties is not a trivial matter or a matter of convenience. . . . when a country fails to make even a good faith effort to meet its commitments, let alone shows actual disregard for them, then we must take notice.

Flatly disregarding a treaty commitment is not just a violation that has legal consequences, it undermines the very foundations of international law.

Second, Canada is indeed able to meet its Kyoto target at a reasonable cost if we are willing to embrace the option that Kyoto gives us of financing cost-effective emission reduction projects in poorer countries. Everyone agrees that we must maximize feasible domestic action, but we must also recognize five things: reducing emissions outside Canada has precisely the same benefits in preventing climate impacts in Canada as reducing emissions here — because emissions spread all around the world; importing environmental benefits is no different than importing any other good or service — it makes sense when it is cost effective; Kyoto credits from developing countries come from specific emission reduction projects that have to go through a rigorous, transparent process to show that the reductions are genuine; financing such projects is really a specially targeted and much needed form of foreign aid and should be seen in that light; and such projects provide many opportunities for Canadian technology exporters.

If you remain unconvinced about my first two points, I invite you to consider a third: sticking to our legal obligations under Kyoto is simply the best hope that we have for urgent action. Climate science is clear that to avoid worldwide impacts that would be appalling, greenhouse gas emissions must be cut urgently. To achieve this, governments must implement the strongest feasible emissions reduction policies without delay. The Kyoto Protocol — as a legally binding instrument with broad support — is simply the best tool we have available to maximize essential action by the Government of Canada.

Before concluding, I would like to return to the question of the international mechanisms of Kyoto to point out what I believe to be a serious flaw in the document that Minister Baird tabled here last week entitled, ``The Cost of Bill C-288 to Canadian Families and Business.'' That flaw is the artificially tight limit placed on Canada's use of the Clean Development Mechanism, CDM. This is based on an assumption in the report, for which the source is not clearly cited, that only 85 megatonnes of credits will be available annually between 2008 and 2012. The reality is that the United Nations Climate Change Secretariat currently expects up to 2,000 megatonnes of CDM credits to be available up to the end of 2012, or over 300 megatonnes per year. This number has been increasing rapidly as new projects are developed. In addition, if Canada truly wanted to make the most of the CDM, we would be on the ground in any number of developing countries to help to develop additional projects to further expand the volume of credits available.

The assumption of an artificially tight limit on Canada's use of the CDM in Minister Baird's document leads naturally enough to very high costs for domestic action because of the limited time available between now and 2012. In reality, no one is proposing that such costs be incurred. The minister's document seeks to portray the debate about Canada's compliance with Kyoto as a debate about the acceptability of very high costs, whereas the real debate, I believe, is about the extent to which we are willing to embrace the international mechanisms of Kyoto in addition to taking domestic action.

In conclusion, it was significant that the minister promised, when he appeared here last week, to make ``best efforts,'' toward Kyoto compliance. The problem is that there is no way of holding the government accountable to that commitment. There is no clear way to define ``best efforts.'' However, Bill C-288 provides the necessary accountability by requiring the government's plans and performance to be measured against the Kyoto standard.

The Deputy Chairman: Thank you, Mr. Bramley. Before we go to questions, I would like to mention that Senator Lorna Milne from Ontario and Senator McCoy from Alberta have joined us at committee today.

Senator Angus: Mr. Lazar, I believe that you have appeared before us on another occasion.

Mr. Lazar: Yes, senator, I have appeared here before, and I enjoyed it.

Senator Angus: We are here to talk about Bill C-288. You listed three inconvenient truths that I found interesting. Have you read Bill C-288?

Mr. Lazar: Not in great detail, but I am pretty familiar with its contents.

Senator Angus: In your mind, what is Bill C-288 about? You said that you hoped we would report back.

Mr. Lazar: That is right. The bill, asking that we implement Kyoto Protocol as it is written, is about living with Kyoto, literally.

Senator Angus: Have you done any economic analysis of the costs of implementing Bill C-288?

Mr. Lazar: I can speak only for the industry that I represent. For us, it is almost a moot question because we exceeded Kyoto targets a long time ago. It is our view that whether we do it via Kyoto or via another route, it has to be done. We are tired of governments — and I underline the ``s'' in ``governments'' — debating this. When the Liberals were in power, we signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Prime Minister saying that we were ready to see reductions; that we would not wait for regulation; and that we would reduce our greenhouse gas emissions. I believe that the number we signed on to was a 15 per cent reduction.

Now the Conservatives are in power. I understand that we will see what that scheme is on Thursday. From the point of view of industry, the politics of international agreements are less interesting than just getting on with the job of reducing greenhouse gases, having some idea of what will be required of us and actually doing it. Do I have a strong view one way or the other about the details of the bill or even of an international agreement? No. We want to see greenhouse gases reduced; clarity from whichever government will give us clarity on the requirements so we can get on with business.

Senator Angus: I agree and that is certainly the way I feel about it. Mr. Lazar, you have been vocal about your industry, which I have been following. It is most impressive in all that has been done. I believe that you used a figure of 44 per cent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions in your industry through a variety of measures. Is that correct?

Mr. Lazar: The figure represents direct reductions. If it is measured on the basis of intensity, it is 54 per cent.

Senator Angus: That is even better. When did your industry start making the necessary adjustments to achieve this wonderful result?

Mr. Lazar: We have been tracking it since 1990 — the Kyoto base year. It has been ongoing for 17 years. We have no intention, regulation or not, of reducing our improvements. This is an ongoing initiative.

Senator Angus: These results have been achieved over the 17 years that you mentioned. Just for your information — because, as you say, you have not looked at Bill C-288 in any detail — the bill invites industry to meet the Kyoto targets in eight months time, which is a far cry from 17 years. In retrospect, could your industry have achieved the Kyoto targets in an eight-month period?

Mr. Lazar: It depends on which eight-month period it would be. This is a very abstract question.

Senator Angus: Starting today.

Mr. Lazar: The only way to make improvements is through continual improvements, and the Kyoto base year is 1990. Not only my industry but also the chemical industry, the oil and gas industry and agriculture have all been making continuous improvements in energy efficiency.

Senator Angus: Senator Mitchell will have his opportunity later to prove me wrong, as usual, and that will be a joy for me. I am just a poor little farm boy from Quebec, and we do not know too much.

Mr. Lazar: I am just an innocent lumberjack from Montreal.

Senator Angus: I am an enthusiastic green senator and committed to seeing that these issues are dealt with.

Bill C-288 does say that if the bill is passed, Canada will have broken the law if it does not achieve these targets within eight months. I am trying to deal with the situation. I am not exactly enthralled with legislating something that is not possible or that is very difficult to achieve.

You are a respected individual and you have been outspoken in this area. I follow not only what your association does but also what you say because it is impressive, and I hope other industries will follow it.

I would like you to give an honest opinion here. Do you feel it is possible for Canada to actually conform to the provisions of Bill C-288 within the time limits prescribed, reasonably? If you do, you do — I am just asking what you honestly believe. Your credibility is on the line, sir.

Mr. Lazar: In that case, I will have to tell you the truth. Any government regime that requires reductions will almost inevitably have the choice between achieving reductions by retooling and reducing emissions or by paying some sort of penalty, whether it is paid to a green fund or whether credits are purchased from someone else who has reduced. I have heard no one speculating on a regime that does not have those two parts to it.

Can this be done? The regimes all have exactly the same provisions: reduce or pay. Is this the best road or is that the best road? Any road will do as long as it reduces our greenhouse gases enough to be doing our part and as long as it gives us the credibility to speak in international places with our heads held high.

I cannot speak for all of the Canadian economy. They have been doing a good job of speaking for themselves. I can only say that our association has done it and will continue to do it. It is the right thing to do. All we would like is an intelligent regime that will allow us to do it at the least cost and will not lead to the export of jobs and emissions to other countries.

Senator Angus: Good. I feel that is a very fair answer, and I thank you for it.

One of Canada's most important primary industries is pulp and paper and the forest products industry. It is pretty big in nearly every province of the nation. These measures that have been taken to achieve the 44 per cent reduction — or even, as you say, possibly 54 per cent reduction — over a time frame of 17 years have obviously taken some retooling using new technologies and operating differently.

Could you give us an outline of some of these technologies? Do they exist or do they need to be developed in the process?

Mr. Lazar: Sure.

Senator McCoy: Could I interject on a point of clarification? As I understand it, Mr. Lazar, the measures you took, you started some time other than 1990, but you had quantified the achievements by referring back to 1990. Is, therefore, your reduction 44 per cent compared to 1990 levels?

Mr. Lazar: That is correct.

Senator McCoy: You started making these retooling changes subsequently.

Mr. Lazar: No. Let me describe the retooling.

Senator Angus: For the record, I want to understand what is happening. Was this a point of order? As I say, I am just a poor little guy, and I do not understand what is happening.

Senator McCoy: It is a point of clarification.

Mr. Lazar: It is a fair question, and I can answer it, if you are curious.

Senator Angus: Yes, I thought it was a good question, but I thought I was doing the questioning.

Senator McCoy: It is a point of clarification on what we are hearing.

Mr. Lazar: I will just tell you and you can sort out your process later.

There are a few steps we have taken. We have been doing them forever, but we count since 1990 because that is the Kyoto base year and obviously the year that everyone uses as a reference point.

The first is process maximization. We look at the process from the very beginning: logging, harvesting, driving the product to the plant, the whole process in the plant including how the shredders and saws are run, and finally shipping it out to our customers. In each element of that process, we ask whether we can reduce our fuel consumption.

For example, we ran the logging trucks at various tire pressures through the logging roads and found the perfect tire pressure to minimize fuel consumption.

Senator Mitchell: That did not take 17 years.

Mr. Lazar: No, it did not take 17 years to do that part. We have improved our energy efficiency by 1 per cent a year on average over the last 17 years — close to 22 per cent — so it is a continuous improvement process. There are no magic switches. We have to keep going after each part of our process all the time.

We also switched paradigms. We switched our overall conceptual framework for energy use from the use of fossil fuels to renewable biomass, which for us was fairly easy to figure out because we live in the carbon cycle. The essence of our industry is harvesting and regrowing trees. That is nature's carbon cycle: pulling carbon dioxide out of air and sequestering it in a tree. As trees grow, the cycle keeps happening over and over again.

We started using biomass, which Kyoto recognizes as carbon neutral, to fuel our plants, and we reduced our fossil fuel usage by 50 per cent. We are now at 60 per cent renewable energy. At the same time, because we were implementing these environmental improvements, we reduced what went to landfill by 40 per cent and reduced our air pollution by 70 per cent.

Once we start on the cycle of trying to improve our methods, bit by bit, year by year, we not only reduce greenhouse gases but also we get co-benefits, which are improvements for the entire environment. It is not rocket science; it is just dedication.

Senator Angus: Thank you very much for that answer.

Senator Tkachuk: First, I want to thank you both for appearing here today. Bill C-288 is a unique and extremely important private member's bill. It is a private member's bill which, in principle, as far as the concept of responsibility and achieving targets is concerned, is probably supported by many people across all political lines. However, Bill C-288 attempts to do in four years — to achieve our targets by 2012 — what should have taken 10 years. That is what concerns us on our side.

I bought a new furnace because of the high cost of energy, because energy prices have been skyrocketing over the last number of years. You can buy a new furnace today and save almost 40 per cent on your energy bill, if you have an old furnace previous to 1993. So not only did I save some money; I became an environmentalist, almost immediately. It is not easy being green, but that is what happened to me. I bought a four-cylinder car. I cut my greenhouse gas emissions. I hear this from industry all the time, Wal-Mart and all these people.

Let us be honest. If energy prices were at 1990 levels, would the same results have been achieved?

Mr. Lazar, when you say that the forest industry has obviously made great strides cutting CO2 emissions by cutting energy costs, there has been some discussion about exactly when you started. In 1990, no one was talking about it, so I have to hand it to the forest industry for its wonderful job on this. Do you have the forest industry's plan for cutting CO2 emissions to conform with the Kyoto agreement that you put together in 1996 or 1995 on a piece of paper that you could table with us? How you went about it without too much of an economic dislocation to your industry would be an important example to show other industries such as the chemical industry or the retail industry.

Mr. Lazar: I will answer in two parts. First, your preamble seems to imply a divide between environmental virtue and economic virtue. All the environmentalists I know say that the best thing we can do is put an economic value on pollution so the marketplace will drive out those industries that do not conform, and that is exactly what happened to us, as happens to all industries. Obviously, in the early years, our changes were driven by the desire to be more competitive, and it still is a part of what we do. We do not apologize for that. We are delighted by the convergence between economic efficiency and environmental efficiency.

That being said, we are suffering the impact of climate change, as an industry, perhaps more directly than any other Canadian sector. The livelihood of 300 towns that depend upon our industry is threatened because of forest fire and beetles, so we are unapologetic advocates for strong and early action on climate change because we know what it can do to us. Whether you say economics, closing towns, losing jobs, social dislocation or losing forests, we live that. It is not a theoretical threat for us; it is a daily reality. Therefore, yes, we have been out there saying, ``Let us get on with it; let us see a government scheme to do it.'' We have been saying this to other industries, and to be fair, other industries have. We are not the only people to improve our energy efficiency.

Did we have a plan in 1990 labelled ``Kyoto''? Of course, we did not, but as soon as Canada signed and ratified, we went to the government and said, ``We are on board. This is what we are willing to commit to do. We are not waiting for regulation. We will do it now because we know.'' It is not because we are better or smarter than anyone; it is because we live it. We, as an industry, live totally dependent upon the health of ecosystems. It is a daily reality for us. Ecosystems are compromised, our life is compromised, and because we live it, we have been advocates for taking action.

Senator Tkachuk: In Alberta and Saskatchewan, we are concerned about the pine beetle, which you brought up earlier. How has the United States been dealing with the pine beetle issue?

Mr. Lazar: As far as I know, they have not had the same infestation because the pine beetle in Canada has always been controlled by cold weather.

Senator Tkachuk: Not forest fires?

Mr. Lazar: No, not forest fires. The major control of the pine beetle is winters in which it goes to minus 40 at the right time of year. We have always had pine beetles, sometimes a little more, sometimes a little less. However, if they start to multiply and within a couple of years we would get a very cold winter, it would knock them right back creating small outbreaks rather than big ones. We are not the only ones who will be affected by the changing climate. There is a general feeling that the climate change will affect geography, so we are all talking about rising sea levels — it will happen — hail storms, ice storms, changes in river flows, melting icebergs and so forth. That is the easy stuff. The hard stuff is changing biology because the biosphere is entirely dependent upon geography, and that is what we are living, which the rest of the Canada will get to live with us.

Senator Tkachuk: Just to clarify, the forest industry is supportive of Bill C-288.

Mr. Lazar: The forest industry does not have a view on Bill C-288. It has a view about the general policy direction. We have not come here to say what to do. We are saying do the right thing, which means reduce greenhouse gases.

Senator Tkachuk: Then we are both on the same message and both on the same policy.

Mr. Lazar: I beg to differ, senator, because I believe you have a strong view on the bill. Maybe I am wrong.

Senator Tkachuk: I have a strong view on the bill, but I am talking about what you were saying, Mr. Lazar. I am not trying to be cute here. We have Bill C-288 here. You came here to testify. I just asked the question; you said that you do not have a view on the bill, and this is what your view is on environmental policy. I said that I agree with you — nothing to do with the bill.

Mr. Lazar: We could live with the bill because we are already in compliance. We can live with the Conservative regulatory regime as long as it is sensible and as long as it recognizes what has already been done. That is implicit in the bill.

Our bottom line is whatever happens, it has to have integrity, and the essence of integrity is that those who have already done the right thing get proper recognition.

Senator Tkachuk: To be clear, is the forest industry supportive of Bill C-288?

Mr. Lazar: I was very clear that the forest industry could live with the bill, and we hope we can live with whatever comes out of the government, but we are not here to say, ``Pass the bill,'' or ``Do not pass the bill.'' We are saying if the bill is implemented, we would be in compliance. If something strong comes from the other side, we will applaud the other side. We want to see greenhouse gases reduced in a manner that is sufficient to do the right thing.

Senator Tkachuk: Mr. Bramley, I gather from you that you are supportive of Bill C-288 and of meeting the obligations of the Kyoto accord. After it was signed, were you part of a process to meet the Kyoto objectives with the Government of Canada of the day?

Mr. Bramley: There was a process known as the National Climate Change Process, a federal-provincial-territorial process involving some 16 so-called issue tables, which dealt with different sectors and the measures that could be taken in those different sectors. I was part of an expert advisory panel to the Analysis and Modelling Group, which was an economic modelling exercise that took the inputs from the 16 issue tables and, in the middle of the year 2000, did economic modelling to look at the implications for Canada to comply with the Kyoto Protocol.

Senator Tkachuk: Would you have urged the government of the day to move quicker on meeting its Kyoto obligations? Are there letters, presentations and so forth?

Mr. Bramley: Yes. We and many other like-minded organizations have been on the record many times over the years urging stronger and faster government action. For example, you can look at the record as to how we responded to Stéphane Dion's Kyoto plan from April 2005. We clearly said that we would have liked it to have been strengthened in a number of areas. We have always been pushing for processes to go faster and stronger because climate change is an enormous threat, not just to the environment but also to people and to economies worldwide. We know that industrialized countries, if we look at the science, need to be reducing emissions in the order of 80 per cent or more below 1990 levels by 2050.

We will not get there unless we start now. On that basis, we have been pushing for processes to go faster and stronger.

Senator Tkachuk: What do you believe went wrong? Why was there not a regulatory regime?

Mr. Bramley: To be fair, the previous government added greenhouse gases to the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 in the fall of 2005 and was expected to roll out greenhouse gas regulations for industry for the various sectors over the first half of 2006. We would have liked that to have occurred earlier, but that was the plan of the previous government.

Senator Tkachuk: Let us review that. Previous to 2006, there was no regulatory regime, obviously; none was brought in. Between 1996 and 2005, what was done exactly?

Mr. Bramley: First, the Kyoto negotiations took place in December 1997. Canada really began to look at what it should do to comply with Kyoto in the beginning of 1998. For two years, there was the consultation process to which I referred, the National Climate Change Process, and then in the fall of 2000 there was the Action Plan 2000 on Climate Change.

Senator Tkachuk: Between 1998 and 2000, there was an absence of action, and then in 2000 we got right at it again.

Mr. Bramley: There was a very prolonged consultation process. In the year 2000, there was a document called Action Plan 2000 on Climate Change, which was published by the government. There was significant funding, as I recall, for climate change programs in the 2000 federal budget. In 2001, the Wind Power Production Incentive was brought in. Action Plan 2000 was cast as getting us one third of the way to the Kyoto target, because Canada had not yet made a decision on whether to ratify or not. When Canada ratified at the end of 2002, that decision to ratify by the government of the day was accompanied by the Climate Change Plan for Canada, which was a plan essentially to get us to Kyoto compliance. That was published in November 2002.

That plan was implemented, and in the 2003 federal budget — if I remember correctly — there was additional substantial funding for climate change programs. For example, in 2003 the EnerGuide program was brought in. Programs were being implemented. However, it was not as fast as we would have liked. When our Prime Minister changed, there was new attention to the issue, especially after Russia ratified, which brought the Kyoto Protocol into legal force.

Then in 2005, there was Stéphane Dion's plan referred to as Project Green, which was a recast of the Kyoto plan. The government was beginning to implement that, as I said, for example, by putting in place regulations, although that process was not completed by the time the last election was called.

Senator Tkachuk: Did the institute receive federal money from the previous government?

Mr. Bramley: We received some money to conduct specific projects under the previous government and continue to do so under the current government.

I can give an example. We were funded under the One-Tonne Challenge Program to construct and maintain a database of financial incentive programs for individuals and families to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. That database is still maintained by us and available on the Environment Canada website. We receive federal money for specific deliverables. We have not received any kind of general funding.

Senator Spivak: Mr. Lazar, when the minister was here, he asked a question. When I pointed out that some industries had reduced by a terrific amount, he said, ``Is this because we have seen so many pulp and paper mills close in Canada?''

Has what you are doing reduced your costs?

Mr. Lazar: That was two questions. I can answer both of them. First, is it because of the reductions in mills? The answer is: absolutely not. That could not be further from the truth. In fact, the amount that we have produced is 20 per cent more. Has it reduced our costs? Of course, it has. When we are more efficient with resource use, our costs go down. We want to see the integration of environmental costs into business costs so that the marketplace can drive the sorts of things we have done.

Senator Spivak: Have you written a letter to the minister pointing this out?

Mr. Lazar: No.

Senator Spivak: Michael Porter of Harvard University, during the Mulroney regime, did a study for Canada. He talked about the green advantage. He said that if you are not green, you will not be able to compete. That was in Mulroney's time.

Mr. Lazar: It is true that there are economic advantages to being green, but we should not oversimplify the situation because if our competitors are not green, we may be advantaged, but, in the long run, we will be out of business. There must be a level playing field. We can be greener than the competitors, but there is a comfort limit. We can get this far ahead but if we get too far ahead, we are actual shutting ourselves down and handing over the production to people who are not doing their environmental job. It is great to be green, but it is also great to stay in business. There is a margin beyond which you do not want to get ahead of global standards.

Senator Spivak: I am sure you are right. The good news is, many other countries around the world are into this competitively through technology and so forth.

Mr. Lazar: To finish on that, it is an essential point in policy. The global deforestation is at 2 per cent a year. It does not sound like much, but wait 10 years and we have lost one fifth of the world's forests. Illegal logging in Brazil, Indonesia and Russia occurs at a tremendous rate. Unless we reduce global consumption, we want to keep global production in places where there is an enforced regulatory regime. If we move production to places where there is no enforced regulatory regime, we are not doing the environment a favour.

Senator Spivak: Yes, but they will suffer and they are already.

Mr. Bramley, I have several questions for you. When I asked the minister about whether he was interested in international carbon credits or cap in trade or whatever, he said that we do not want to import hot air from Russia, but you made a very good point that climate change is occurring around the world, so it is not just our piece of sky. The Corporate Knights issued an article, which struck me as common sense, that 2 billion people use coal fires in the developing world and only 40 million use solar cookers. It turns out that Alcan makes solar cookers at about $100 each. Should we subsidize Alcan? That strikes me as practical and could save a tremendous amount of greenhouse gas emissions. How would we go about doing that?

Mr. Bramley: Through the Clean Development Mechanism, so-called project developers will come forward with proposals for specific projects. An example could be a solar cooker program. That has to go through a review process, through the executive board of the CDM, which is a United Nations body and has representatives of different governments and many technical experts. That project, if it met the requirements, would be registered and could begin to deliver credits once it began to deliver verified emission reductions.

Senator Spivak: A company that is spewing carbon dioxide into the air could decide to buy those credits?

Mr. Bramley: Exactly.

Senator Spivak: That is what would pay for the solar cookers. Now I want to get into the issue of time limits. It seems that people have not internalized the fact that we are obligated to conform to the Kyoto Protocol whether we pass this bill or not, and if we do not do it, there are huge penalties later. We are caught.

I know that Bill C-30, which I have not really looked at, is talking about how you get from here to there, but surely the expectation is not that in 2008 we immediately get into reducing 30 per cent. What is your view of how that works? Is it an average of the four years?

Mr. Bramley: It is actually an average or total of the five years from 2008 to 2012 inclusive. Canada's emissions over that five-year period will be added up, and then that total will be combined with the sum total of international credits that we have acquired. That will be the basis of assessing our compliance with our obligation.

Senator Spivak: We are looking at a five-year period. We are not looking at eight months.

The cost is the most important aspect. How would you evaluate the $195 per tonne that was presented to us in the government's cost of Bill C-288? What is your view on that kind of figure?

Mr. Bramley: My understanding of the origin of that number is that a decision was made in the modelling to limit Canada's access to international Kyoto credits to 65 megatonnes a year, and then the model was asked to answer the question as to how large a carbon tax would be required to do the entire remainder of the reductions purely in Canada. The model answered that a carbon tax of $195 a tonne would be needed.

As I indicated in my opening remarks, this is somewhat divorced from reality because I do not accept the limit that was placed on the international mechanisms. In addition, a policy package to achieve comprehensive emission reductions across the economy would not rely solely on a price mechanism. In addition, the study that the minister tabled did acknowledge that there are other policy tools that the government has available to lessen the impact. There was some reference to using monetary policy or exchange rate policy, for example.

Senator Spivak: Okay, so I get the picture. It is the assumptions that were in the model that produced this result. If we do not have those assumptions, we do not necessarily have those costs.

My last question is on intensity targets. No less an expert in the economic field than Jeffrey Rubin, the chief economist of the Royal Bank of Canada, has said that intensity targets will not limit emissions. I can pass around his statements. He has a very cogent view.

What is your view on intensity targets per unit for emissions?

Mr. Bramley: Our view is there are a number of problems with intensity targets. The biggest problem is honesty because the track record shows that governments tend to use intensity targets to claim to be doing something that sounds impressive when in reality very little or actually nothing is being done. I will give you an example.

In 2002, George W. Bush announced a climate policy for the United States under which the greenhouse gas emissions intensity of the U.S. economy would be reduced by some 18 per cent over the subsequent 10 years, between 2002 and 2010. I believe many people thought that that sounded pretty good, reducing intensity by 18 per cent. The problem is that if you looked over the previous 10 years it turns out that intensity had fallen by precisely 18 per cent without any particular government policies being put in place at all. In other words, intensity falls naturally over time through a kind of natural process of technology improvement and capital stock turnover.

A similar example I could cite from Alberta, where in 2002 the Government of Alberta issued a climate change plan under which Alberta's greenhouse gas intensity was to be reduced by 50 per cent between 1990 and 2020. Again, it sounds tremendously impressive. The problem is that because the economy, especially in Alberta, is growing rapidly, that target of a 50-per-cent intensity reduction can be met by 2020, even while Alberta's actual emissions increase by some 30 per cent above the 1990 level. At the time, journalists were given the impression that this would be something pretty close to Kyoto, maybe with a bit of a delay.

One other problem that is important with intensity targets when applied to industry is that they will likely lead to a difficulty with transparency and accountability because many industry sectors do not like to have production data made public on a company level. Now, if companies have targets in terms of intensity, their emissions will be known because emissions are published. If their intensity performance is also published, people will be able to deduce their production level because intensity is emissions divided by production. Therefore, what is likely to happen is it will be impossible for the public to know what the intensity performance really is because one can expect the government to be lobbied by industry to not indirectly divulge production data. That is troubling because we feel that all this data should be in the public domain so people can see clearly how companies and how the country is performing.

Senator Milne: Mr. Bramley, you mean that you would like all the data to be published so that the public could then judge whether, even though intensity was decreasing, emissions were actually going up? Do you not see any sort of a regime that would allow that to happen?

Mr. Bramley: Well, in theory we could have intensity targets and performance published, but I have already seen by participating in consultations that many industry representatives will say they cannot have that intensity data made public because it will result in their production data becoming available.

The other related point is that to understand the implications for actual emissions of intensity targets requires a calculation. It is not a calculation that everyone is in a position to do. Therefore, it tends to lead to a lack of transparency.

Another problem of intensity targets is that if production of a particular company or sector turns out to be higher than expected, that company or sector will meet its intensity target, but its emissions will be higher than anticipated. That creates a liability because someone must then take on those higher emissions and compensate for them somewhere else.

Another problem is the functioning of emissions trading markets. Generally, it is understood that liquidity in emissions trading markets is hampered by intensity targets. There is much evidence now that emissions markets are a good business-friendly way to try to get at this problem. Comments have come from representatives of some of the companies that want to set up exchanges for trading emissions that have cast some doubt on whether we should be using intensity targets for that reason.

Senator Milne: Intensity targets are not just a sort of government flim-flam then; they are something that would actually hinder any carbon trading markets that would reduce carbon emissions around the world.

Mr. Bramley: It is a fairly widely-held view that intensity targets would hamper emissions trading, yes.

Senator Milne: Mr. Lazar, you talked about the fact that the greenhouse gases had been reduced by 44 per cent in your industry since 1990. Therefore, you are quite happy with this bill because it would allow you to take that reduction into account. What would happen if on Thursday the minister says that our baseline will be 2000? What would that do to your industry?

Mr. Lazar: First, there are three numbers that would have to be looked at: the base year, the amount of reduction and the target time. For us, if it is 1990, it is the simplest because it is the Kyoto base year, but I understand for other industries it is more complicated. We do not have religion on it, but that would be our practice. There is the base year, how much we must reduce by and when we must get there; all three factors must be considered.

If what is implied by your question is what if the minister's announcement ignores the earlier reductions?

Senator Milne: No; chops off your earlier reductions.

Mr. Lazar: Probably, that would be a policy error for the simple reason that environmental progress requires that industry have the signal that they not wait for regulation. For example, if everyone waited for the regulations, we would all be standing still for many years now. We would want built into any regulatory regime some recognition of those who have acted early, so that when the next environmental issue comes, people do not wait to see what the rules are.

A penalization also occurs, which most people do not understand. Let us go back to the senator's house. If he wanted to reduce his greenhouse gas emissions, the first step he could take is to caulk the windows and doors. He could then turn the thermostat down a little. That would be his early action. If there is then a regulation on home heating, the only improvement left for him to do would be to buy a new furnace, whereas if he waited for regulation and it came in and he had not done anything, he could just do the windows and doors and say that he has complied.

In any regime, whether by having a 1990 base year or by recognizing early action in some other way, it is necessary for policy integrity to not penalize environmentally responsible industries. Otherwise, a signal is being sent on every other environmental measure: Do not do anything until we finish the regulation. Frankly, that is simply silly.

Senator Milne: If they sent out that kind of signal, no one would have done anything at all. You would still be exactly where you were in 1990.

Mr. Lazar: To be very clear, I did not say only in this bill; it could be done many ways.

Senator Milne: When did the industry really start to look at this? You are using 1990 as your base year, but when did these actions really begin?

Mr. Lazar: We have been improving, as has every other industry and the rest of society. We have been improving our energy efficiency since the very beginning. The switch to renewable fuels has sped up in the last 10 to 15 years. At the time the government decided to sign and ratify Kyoto, we had a meeting of the board of the Forest Products Association of Canada, and we asked the question: What will your attitude be? The answer was, ``Our attitude will be toward proactive action on climate change.'' We approached Mr. Chrétien at the time and said, ``We are ready to sign on the dotted line now. What about 15 per cent?'' He agreed, so that is what we did.

It is not as though back in the 1920s we were expecting to comply with the Kyoto Protocol. Just as the rest of society, we were chugging along and, as climate change became a more obvious threat and once we realized that that was where government regulation was headed, we decided to get ahead of the curve and do the right thing.

Senator Milne: As a matter of curiosity, you talked about the industry now using biomass to generate power to use in the bush. What percentage of the industry is using biomass? How many of your mills?

Mr. Lazar: Right now, 60 per cent of our power comes from biomass. That is quite a bit. It is enough to replace three nuclear reactors. We produce enough electricity just in our mills to power all of Vancouver or all of Ottawa- Gatineau on a full-time basis. If we have a supportive policy regime, we would like to become net exporters.

Senator Milne: You would like to get attached to the grid?

Mr. Lazar: Remote communities where we operate should not be importing electricity over long distances from coal generators. We should be using local biomass to provide electricity for our local communities. That is where we would like to head. We are hoping that we will be able to find a fairly fast path to carbon neutrality — not by buying offsets, but by doing it within the industry — and we would like to be net exporters of renewable fuel. Much of that depends on the policy regime. Frankly, the taxes on new equipment and the overall economic regime, which either favours or fails to favour retooling, will have a big impact on that.

Senator Milne: Mr. Bramley, what in this Kyoto bill would you like to see improved?

Mr. Bramley: There is nothing that particularly comes to mind. For us, the bill meets the need to reaffirm in domestic law our existing obligation under international law. It also has an important accountability mechanism of requiring the government to annually publish a climate change plan that enumerates the measures that will be taken and actually projects by how much emissions will be reduced by each measure. That is a very important accountability mechanism. I do not have any particular suggestion for changes.

Senator Milne: What are the specific penalties that Canada will have to pay if we do not meet Kyoto targets?

Mr. Bramley: The penalties are not financial. The principle compliance penalty that has been agreed upon internationally is that any emissions shortfall that Canada had during that five-year period of 2008 to 2012 would have to be made up by Canada in a second period of the Kyoto Protocol and multiplied by 1.3 above and beyond our second period target.

Before I leave that point, I would note that if the Kyoto Protocol were not extended beyond 2012 — that is, if there was no agreement on a second phase of Kyoto — then that penalty would, it appears, disappear. I am somewhat concerned that an abandonment of our Kyoto obligations in the first period creates an incentive for Canada to actually take a position in international negotiations to do away with Kyoto all together after 2012.

Perhaps a more important point I wanted to make is that I have always felt that, beyond the technical penalties, it is the question of Canada's international standing and influence that is at stake. I believe that most Canadians want us to be a leader in addressing major global issues and want us to have an influence that is perhaps greater than our population might justify in international fora. I feel that is severely hampered by not complying and, even worse, by not even trying to comply with our obligations under a treaty such as Kyoto.

The Deputy Chairman: Before I go to Senator Dawson, I wish to continue with that frame of thought.

Under Bill C-288, what will happen if the government fails to reach the Kyoto targets, Mr. Bramley?

Mr. Bramley: The two obligations on the government in the bill are, first, to publish a plan to meet the target and, second, to take into account all the measures that may be in place of a nonregulatory nature and then fill up any gap that remains toward the target with regulations. There is an obligation to have plans and an obligation to regulate.

I am not a lawyer, but my understanding is that if the government failed to fulfill either of those obligations, someone could go to court and obtain an order that would order cabinet to comply with one or the other of those two obligations.

Senator Dawson: I wanted to ask you a question in French about pine beetles and the effect of climate warming but in French the word is coléoptère du pin, so we will go to pine beetles.

If I understood you correctly about the crisis and the pine beetle, if global warming continues, you said that we had an area equivalent to the size of New Brunswick being devastated by the pine beetle. If the climate continues to warm, could we predict that it would be exponential growth?

Mr. Lazar: No, that is not the potential; that is today. The pine beetle has destroyed a forest the size of New Brunswick already. How much longer will it go? How much further will it go? So far, all the biologists have made incorrect predictions, but probably within three or four years it will have run its course.

What plague will be next? Some biologists have said with increased CO2 concentration the trees will grow faster — which is probably true — but maybe fungus will grow faster, maybe some other insect. The climate change modelling is reasonably accurate at a regional level for what will happen to the climate. It does not go as far as the feedback loops and what will happen in the biosphere.

We know things will change. We are pretty certain we will not like it, but we do not know the details of the changes. That is the reason why, with the second inconvenient truth, we will have to live with climate change even if we mitigate; it will not eliminate it or merely slow it down. We stress preparedness because we understand it, and I would not like to see our country deal with each of the impacts of climate change slightly after they happened. Whether it is pine beetles, health problems, changes in water courses, new diseases of agriculture or new diseases of children, we should be making it a national priority to be prepared for the impacts of climate change, just as we must make it a national priority to do our share in reducing greenhouse gases and encouraging other countries to do their part as well.

Senator Dawson: Mr. Bramley, you talked about an environmental model and an economic model. You may have been here last week when the minister came and stated electricity prices would need to rise by 50 per cent. I do not like to quote these statements because they sound so exaggerated; I do not like to repeat statements that sound embarrassing.

Electricity prices would need to rise by 50 per cent. The cost of heating a Canadian home would go from $90 a month to almost $145 a month; gas prices would jump by more than 60 per cent; gasoline would cost more than $1.60 a litre; and 275,000 Canadians would lose their jobs.

You talked about a flawed document. I do not know if you have had an opportunity since last Thursday to go over the document tabled by the minister or if you have been able to find out who wrote it. We know many people believe the document is good because they have said so, but they also said, ``We did not participate; we just like the model and the way it is written.'' We are looking for the author.

Would you comment on the numbers given by the minister last week? Whether it is eight months or eight years or five years, what do we do to try to reach those models if it is true? If they are not true, what can we make of those numbers?

Mr. Bramley: It has been said a number of times that in any calculation, if we start from the wrong starting point or wrong assumptions, we will get the wrong answers. I believe that is what happens in the model.

I draw your attention, in response to those alarming and alarmist statistics, to page 22 of the study where the study itself acknowledges that if that artificial limit on the international mechanisms was lifted, and I quote, ``This would dramatically lower the overall cost of reductions for Canadian emitters, and as a result would carry a much lower economic cost for Canada. . . .''

The report itself acknowledges that if we have this limit that is very tight and not realistic, then we get these very big numbers.

Clearly, we needed to start much earlier and more strongly on putting in place policies to comply with Kyoto. The more we delay, the more the costs do increase. Numbers as large as those that you cited are the result of making what I would say are flawed assumptions.

Senator Dawson: Over the last four or five days have you seen — on the Environment Canada website or anywhere else — where these numbers could have come from?

Mr. Bramley: I have not seen that publicly. I know that Environment Canada maintains an in-house capacity to do economic modelling of climate change policies, and I would surmise that the modelling was done by that in-house team.

I would just add that the question of endorsement by outside economists is somewhat misleading. I did have an opportunity to talk to Mark Jacquard, who is mentioned in the study. Those economists were saying, for the most part, that the economic modelling methodology was legitimate. I do not believe they were necessarily endorsing the assumptions. That is a distinction that is quite important.

[Translation]

Senator Dawson: One final question, Mr. Bramley, about the matter of jurisdiction. We have heard it said last week, during and after the committee meeting, that this bill deals with matters that probably come under provincial jurisdiction and that it is therefore unconstitutional because it does not deal with matters under the jurisdiction of the Canadian Parliament. Do you have any comment?

Mr. Bramley: If I remember correctly, the bill recognizes explicitly the need to respect provincial, territorial and federal jurisdictions. It says that we should take account of the existence of federal-provincial agreements in the federal plan that is being called for.

One might think of that plan as being a list of measures, some of which being aimed at reducing emissions and some having the form of federal-provincial agreements. We already know that under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act the federal government has the power, confirmed by the Supreme Court, to regulate the emissions of substances meeting some criteria. Clearly, greenhouse gases meet those criteria. The federal government also has other powers, for example under the Energy Efficiency Act.

Once again, I am not a constitutional lawyer but I do not see anything here that would obviously be unconstitutional.

[English]

Senator Adams: Canada is a cold country, and we are affected more than other countries because of our climate. The minister was here last week and he said one should not want to have Bill C-288 to be passed. If Bill C-288 passes, he does not want to spend more money than other countries to meet Kyoto requirements.

We are living up in the Arctic and do not have forestry. However, we are also affected by climate change because we are living with animals, et cetera. You were talking about beetles infesting trees. We do not have trees, but bugs we have never seen before are now coming up into the Arctic.

For Russia and other countries living with a cold climate, as we are, is climate change affecting them too? We never hear very much about how it is affecting countries with a climate similar to ours. They talk about climate change, and I was wondering if Canada is mostly affected, or are other countries similarly affected?

Mr. Lazar: I believe the UN science report made it quite clear that all regions of the earth will be affected in different ways and amounts. I understand the areas further north will feel more dramatic changes in temperature, but some of the more central areas will feel more dramatic impacts in terms of droughts and other climate change.

The bottom line is no part of the globe is expected to remain unaffected.

Senator Adams: Are we emitting more CO2 than other countries are every year? We must reduce our emissions. However, you said earlier if the other countries are not reducing their emissions as well than the gases come back to us. How do we fix that?

Mr. Lazar: The Kyoto Protocol only imposed emissions controls on industrialized countries because the countries that were not yet industrialized correctly pointed out that most of the greenhouse gases had come from us.

The world has changed much since that was negotiated, and many of these economies are now emerging. One would hope that any future action would be just as severely demanding on other countries.

It works both ways. Of course, as Mr. Bramley said, if we can save carbon dioxide in China, it has the same impact in Canada as in China, but it works in reverse as well. If China continues at the rate of industrialization it is now enjoying and continues to use coal to the extent it has, it will more than offset anything we do.

The bottom line is that we do not have the luxury of choosing. We have to reduce our own greenhouse gas emissions because not only do we have to do our part but also it gives us moral authority to speak to others. However, if all we have is a moral authority, we will have wasted our time, effort and the cost of it.

Senator Adams: Your organizations have been working for quite a few years on climate change. We know from hearing the news and such that some of the ice is melting in the Arctic. What do you see happening in Southern Canada with climate change?

We do not have farms up North. We live on the land and hunt. We do not have a highway to go shopping. We go out on the land and hunt food, such as caribou and seals, and we catch fish. That is the way we live in the Arctic. It is similar to people here shopping at Loblaws, but we do not drive to Loblaws. We go out on the land to get our food.

We notice things are different, especially this year since the beginning of April. A study over two weeks measured temperatures between minus 40 and minus 50 degrees in the Arctic. Everyday I phone the environment number to check the temperatures in Nunavut, and today we still have a temperature of minus 30 degrees.

We look at climate change and the differences it has caused. Now we have more fog coming in. We have never had fog in January before. On New Year's Day, we had no planes for one week because of the fog in the community. We do not usually have fog between May and June, but because of the warm weather, everything cools off at night. That is the kind of weather we are experiencing today.

We understand what is happening with the changes in snow. We have hardly any snow, and in some places they cannot even build an igloo because of the difference in the type of snow we now get.

I asked the minister this question last week when he was here. The Prime Minister announced, over a month ago, that he will put $250 million toward hiring another scientist. We are living in it and watching what is happening; yet we are not recognized as capable to complete any reports in the community. You people study climate change; we also understand climate change, but no one cares about us. Could you comment on that?

Mr. Bramley: It has been widely recognized in the scientific community that the Arctic is very much on the front lines of climate impacts. In fact, the Arctic Climate Impact Assessment Report published in 2004 was very eloquent on that subject. It stated that climate change is already strongly affecting people in many Arctic communities and, in some cases, threatening their cultural survival. That has been widely recognized in the last few years.

Personally, in addition to those impacts in polar regions, I find most concerning the impacts on some of the world's most vulnerable countries. The risks of water shortage could be affecting literally billions of people by the end of this century as a result of climate change; hundreds of additional people are at risk from insufficient food production, particularly in places such as Africa. Coastal flooding with the displacement of tens of millions of people is also very much a reality for the end of this century. These are impacts that we must prevent.

Senator Mitchell: Madame Chairman, I would like to say that I have not been at a meeting that you have chaired before; you are doing a remarkable job. Thank you very much. I was particularly impressed at how you kept Senator Angus under control as he started to attack me.

The Deputy Chairman: I would do the same with you, senator.

Senator Mitchell: Absolutely. It is not about trying to convince Senator Angus that he is wrong. What gets me is that sense of defeatism of this continual regurgitation of this line that focuses on what is not possible. It seems to me if we could simply focus on what is possible, we would be absolutely surprised — witness the forest industry — about what could be achieved.

A corollary of that approach is focusing on the past and making this argument to defend not doing anything by arguing that someone else did not do enough. To focus on the increase of emissions in the 1990s, that should be an argument for doing more.

A good chunk of the increase of greenhouse gases in the 1990s occurred in Ontario when Mr. Baird was Minister of Energy. Actually, he contributed to the very argument that he is now criticizing the government of the 1990s for having made. I want to make those points and say that there are no hard feelings, Senator Angus.

I am also struck because I can see a recurrence of the attitude of those people who said 150 years ago that we should not start building the railroad because it could not be done, or that we should not get involved in World War I because we could not possibly win, or that we should not get involved in World War II because it would be too large a thing for Canadians ever to accomplish. In fact, those things were all done.

We grabbed them and accomplished those great things, and this is another great national adventure that we must undertake and need leadership to guide us.

Mr. Lazar, the point has been made by Senator Angus that it took you 17 years to do this, but what Senator Angus is not acknowledging is that you are seven times your Kyoto objective. Therefore, it did not take 17 years to get to your Kyoto objective. If we straight-lined it, we would divide seven into 17 and say you did it in two and a half years.

We have five years now until 2012, give or take a couple of months. It seems eminently doable, we should focus on the tremendous achievement of your industry and understand that if you put together the things we can do, we can accomplish this very quickly.

Mr. Lazar: I missed the question.

Senator Mitchell: The question is: It is true or not, that it did not take you 17 years to meet Kyoto objectives; it took you 17 years to meet seven times the Kyoto targets? There is quite a bit of latitude there.

Mr. Lazar: Your mathematics is completely correct.

Senator Mitchell: Thank you. I thought it was.

You did say a couple of times in your presentation that it is important that we have a government that would retool or restructure the economic environment. Could you be more specific? Could you tell us what your industry or other industries need to make this work the way you are envisioning it?

Mr. Lazar: The essence of what we have to do is make industrial production — and, for that matter, daily living — less greenhouse-gas intensive. I am not talking about using that as a measure, regardless of what you use as a measure.

Right now, if you look anywhere on the earth, most indices of both economic and social growth correlate with greenhouse gas production. This is a global problem and a solution is urgently needed that reduces the greenhouse gas intensity of all aspects of society. From an industrial point of view, that means that we have to radically change our engineering processes either by making them more energy efficient or switching fuels, or doing both, so that a unit production requires and produces less greenhouse gases.

What sort of help would the useful? Well, the government did something quite excellent in the last budget. They gave the manufacturers a two-year straight-line capital cost depreciation. That sort of measure should be extended to any environmental equipment. A one-year write-off would be better, but anything that would reduce the investment required for industry helps.

People say, why not just invest your own money? The scarcest resource globally is capital. Our companies have to compete for capital, and it is very hard to get the capital for retooling. Therefore, anything that would make it economically more feasible to retool would improve the environment and keep the jobs in Canada.

Additionally, the government could invest more heavily in research to commercialize the technologies. Much of the technology needed is either commercially available now or could be brought to market relatively quickly. That being said, this technology is not enough for what we will need five years and 10 years from now because no matter what we do, this path will be long. Research, commercialization and then any type of break to speed up the recapitalization, to speed up the retooling of industry would be hugely beneficial.

I have to give the current government credit for having made a good step in that direction in the last budget; more would be more useful.

Senator Mitchell: They did not tie it just to environmental initiative but tied it strictly to manufacturing investment.

Mr. Lazar: Yes, but being in a manufacturing industry it will make a difference for the speed of our retooling. To be fair, that was endorsed by all parties as a recommendation of the industry committee.

Senator Mitchell: Excellent. Mr. Bramley, assessments have been made — and I would ask you to comment on this assertion — that, in fact, usable, applicable technology exists today to do most of what we have to do. It does not actually take a great deal of new technology necessarily at the margin at all.

Mr. Bramley: Yes, I could cite a couple studies. One would be the study published by the National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy last year. This was an exercise in looking at whether Canada could reduce emissions by 60 per cent below current levels using existing technologies or technologies very close to market. The answer is, yes, and that report, which is publicly available, is encouraging. It shows that it is always good to have technology improvements and occasional breakthroughs in technologies, but the reality is we already know how we can go a long way to cut emissions below the current level.

There is no mystery to this. Energy conservation, increased energy efficiency is always the first choice. We know how to substantially increase energy efficiency in buildings, vehicles, appliances and in other areas. Once we have done all we can on energy conservation and efficiency there is a whole range of technologies that allow energy to be produced with much lower or even zero emissions.

We know about renewable energy. There are technologies, particularly in Canadian industry, such as carbon capture and storage, that are often talked about in a way that suggests that it might be a nice idea, but we cannot do it for 10 or 15 years. Carbon capture and storage is already being deployed on a large scale in some pilot projects. Studies have suggested that it would be economic for industry to begin to deploy it on a large scale in Canada if governments put in place a regulatory regime that puts a price upward of $30 a tonne of CO2 on emission.

I also wanted to cite briefly the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, IPCC. Its Working Group III looks at the technological and economic aspects of climate change. In the next couple of weeks, it will publish a report looking at the potential for reducing emissions, and IPCC has said in the past that we can go a long way below current levels of emissions with existing technologies.

Senator Mitchell: Senator Dawson and I met today with Air Liquide Canada Inc., a company that is doing remarkable things with carbon capture and storage. They are creating emission streams that are almost pure carbon dioxide — so it is much easier to capture and deal with — and are waiting for a regulatory regime, some sort of certainty or at least indication that the context is right to begin to do that in a big way.

The United Kingdom has achieved already 12.5 per cent of its Kyoto 2012 objective. The projection is that they will probably get to 25 per cent below 1990 levels. There are those who say that their emission structure is different than ours, but in fact 30 per cent of what they emit comes from upstream oil and gas and coal-fired electricity; 35 per cent of Canadians emissions are those.

Could you comment on the United Kingdom experience briefly to say how they did it? What were their techniques? Did it hurt their economy? It seems to me their growth is about what ours has been.

Mr. Bramley: There is no evidence of any harm to the U.K. economy from their efforts to reduce emissions. In fairness, it is true that some occurrences in the U.K. helped reduce emissions, particularly the switch from coal to natural gas for electricity generation. However, the fact is the U.K. has been at the forefront within Europe of advocating strong government policies to cut emissions. The U.K. has been a leader in getting the EU emissions trading scheme up and running and trying to make it reasonably aggressive in terms of the emission reductions it requires. That is a policy that sets regulated greenhouse gas targets for some 11,000 industrial facilities across the EU and across the 27 countries.

The U.K. has the renewables obligation, which is a quota requirement for low-impact renewable energy, such as wind power, to be part of the electricity mix.

The U.K. also put in place a carbon tax called the climate change levy around 2002. I am not familiar with all the other policies. From a Canadian perspective, the U.K. has been most helpful in the work Tony Blair has done in the international fora to make climate change a top issue in the G8, for example, and in the presidency of the EU. This is now being repeated by Germans in both those fora.

The Deputy Chairman: Did they not shut down some coal mines?

Mr. Bramley: There was a shift from coal-fired electricity to gas-fired, which definitely helped them. They have also, as I was indicating, gone a long way to implement the kinds of policies we need but which we still have not yet got around to doing in Canada.

Senator Mitchell: The Pembina Institute brought out the Fair Share, Green Share proposal. Is there anything you would emphasize for us there?

Mr. Bramley: I wanted to cite that as an example that Kyoto targets are achievable in an economically reasonable way. In a submission to the House of Commons Legislative Committee on Bill C-30 a proposal was put forward to set Kyoto level targets for a heavy industry in Canada as a whole. Heavy industry in Canada in 2004 emitted about 47 per cent of our emissions, so it is the largest single chunk of emissions in Canada. We proposed to set Kyoto level targets 6 per cent below 1990 for the three big sectors: electricity generators; upstream oil and gas sector; and all the rest, which includes the energy-using sectors such as pulp and paper. This is not a sophisticated economic modelling exercise; it is a very simple calculation. If there is that flexibility of emissions trading available, oil sands producers, for example, could meet Kyoto level targets at a cost of only about $1 per barrel of oil.

That surprised many people as it is a very easy calculation to demonstrate. We know that state-of-the-art oil sands production emits about one-fifteenth of a tonne of CO2 per barrel. We know how much it costs to put technologies in place, such as carbon capture and storage, combined with using the emissions trading market, we can do a couple of multiplications and see that for around $1 per barrel of oil, that industry could be meeting Kyoto level targets.

One dollar is a small amount, when we look at the profit margins that sector is enjoying and at the simple fluctuations we see on a weekly basis on the price of oil. We have to look at the numbers sometimes and realize that things are not as scary as some people would like to make out.

[Translation]

Senator Robichaud: I am quite pleased to listen to you because the last witness talking about the Kyoto Protocol was a real Chicken Little. Your message is completely different and I find that interesting.

Mr. Lazar, you said that your industry covers 60 per cent of its energy needs with green energy and you added that, with little bit of effort, you would be able to cover all your energy needs in that way and even provide green energy to other industries. What is the potential of that biomass that you are using?

Mr. Lazar: It all depends on the price of electricity. There are huge reserves of biomass in Canada. We are not going to destroy forests to get more biomass but, if we were only to use biomass residues or if we were growing cellulose, we could say that, from an environmental point of view, it is a more economical and more positive solution.

There are all sorts of possibilities. The market would also be tied to the proximity of the harvest and to the construction of new plants. Referring to our industry, we could double our production of green power by using biomass that is considered a residue. Biomass has allowed us to reduce our backfilling costs by 40 per cent. Instead of getting rid of our residues, we are using them to produce green power.

Senator Robichaud: The technology is relatively simple. There is no need to reinvent the wheel.

Mr. Lazar: It is simple but there are always new and more sophisticated technologies that appear for cellulose gasification that could be used to help other industries. It is not complicated but it is not free either.

One has to change the boiler, which entails a cost of between 30 and 80 million dollars. In an industry where economic pressures are intense and where many plants are closing, just finding the funds required for such a change might be difficult.

Senator Robichaud: But you have shown that it can be done.

Mr. Lazar: Indeed and we want to continue doing it. We expect that a government program will help us to accelerate our progress.

Senator Robichaud: Mr. Bramley, how could wind power supply the network and what would be its potential for reducing our emissions of greenhouse gases?

Mr. Bramley: I am not an expert on wind power but I know that Canada's potential capacity in wind power is about 1,500 MW. The world leader is Germany with a capacity of 20,000 MW. And Germany is not a big country, its size being probably 20 times less than Canada.

A wind power capacity of 3,000 MW would be equivalent to a big coal plant. So, one might say that a country like Germany already produces wind power equivalent of seven big coal plants.

Going even further, I know that a study has been published in Quebec about the wind power potential of installing wind turbines close to the power lines in the North and that this would represent several tens of thousands of MW.

Senator Robichaud: This would allow us to shut down some coal plants which produce lots of greenhouse gases, would it not?

Mr. Bramley: Yes, there is that possibility. Of course, one would have to look at the linkages, the connections between the provinces and even across the border to the U.S. to make sure that power produced with fossil fuels could be replaced by power produced with renewable fuels.

The potential is enormous. In Europe, for example, an industry association in the field of renewable energy has published a study on the percentage of power demand that could be satisfied by renewable energy within 20 years and the results are quite impressive.

[English]

Senator McCoy: Most of my questions have been asked by colleagues who are mostly right on point. I was curious, Mr. Bramley, about your response to this report on the cost of Bill C-288. If I heard you correctly, you would not agree with the conclusions of that report as put forward.

Mr. Bramley: That is correct.

Senator McCoy: Do you know anyone who would?

Mr. Bramley: I did not follow all the public reaction to the report when it was published last week, but I did not see any ringing endorsements. The endorsements in the report from various economists may be a little misleading. The methodology of the modelling was being endorsed, not the assumptions.

Senator McCoy: The modelling was set up under the consultation process 10 years ago. Have there been refinements since?

Mr. Bramley: It is a new modelling exercise in this report. We have been through modelling exercises several times in the past; another one was done in 2002. It just so happens that the federal government at that time published a modelling exercise using the same models that are in this report, but with quite different conclusions.

Senator McCoy: Garbage in, garbage out.

Has anyone recently attempted to quantify the cost to Canada from an economic point of view of meeting the Kyoto targets?

Mr. Bramley: I am not aware of a recent study other than this one that the minister tabled. Those studies were done at the time when Canada was debating whether or not to ratify Kyoto. To my mind, once we have made a decision to go ahead with something, we stop asking the question as to whether we should do it or not. I believe that is why there have not been many of those studies since about 2002.

Senator Angus: I will ask both of you gentlemen a simple question, since we only have one question for the second round. We hear comparative statements, Canada is doing badly or Canada is doing well, usually vis-à-vis the U.S. Could you state your opinion?

Let us say we all agree with you, Mr. Lazar, that it is in our interest big time to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and take other preventative steps to arrest this climate change problem. We know that the Americans have not bought into the Kyoto Protocol. Some people say the reason is that they are in terrible shape and are not doing well, and we are doing much better in Canada. I do not know. You are experts. Could you each tell us?

Mr. Bramley: I can tell you that a comparative study was published at the end of 2006 by some European NGOs. I believe it is called the Climate Change Performance Index. It looked at 56 countries including all the main industrialized countries and some others. It looked at the strength of greenhouse gas reduction policies in those countries. Canada ranked 51 out of 56. It might have been slightly different, but we were very close to the bottom of the table.

Senator Angus: Was the U.S. ahead of us?

Mr. Bramley: I believe they were close to us. In the U.S., there is an important distinction to make between the federal and state levels. There are a number of states in the U.S. that are showing quite admirable leadership and beginning to put in place mandatory policies for greenhouse gas emissions.

Senator Angus: Such as California?

Mr. Bramley: California is one example. At the federal level, under the present administration, there has been a stalling in the kind of action we need to see.

Mr. Lazar: I would just add — if the numbers are correct — it is not unlikely that there will be a Democratic president, in which case we might see a dramatic shift in attitude. If that happened, as a trading partner, we would be examined quite closely for whether or not we were doing our share.

It is interesting that my colleagues in Europe have been assured by the European Commission — I will not comment upon whether the European Commission's assurances always come true — that they will examine import taxes to Europe based upon Kyoto compliance or non-compliance because they are paying the economic cost of being compliant.

Frankly, I do not believe the United States is our comparison problem. We should turn our policy attention to the developing economies of India and China. They have a social imperative of allowing their people to move out of subsistence poverty and to enjoy similar advantages that we enjoy. That sort of industrialization, if it is not on a different model, will wipe out any improvements that either the U.S. or Canada makes. I feel our international policy imperative should be to partner and to insist that they develop along a model that is less greenhouse-gas intensive than we have.

Senator Tkachuk: The International Emissions Trading Association website on March 29 quoted an article from Britain's newspaper The Independent entitled, ``Blow for Britain's fight against climate change as emissions target is missed'' that states:

Britain's credibility as a leader in the fight against climate change has suffered a massive blow with the Government being forced to announce it will not meet its flagship target for cutting the carbon dioxide emissions causing global warming.

The target, to cut UK CO2 emissions from industry and transport to 20 per cent below their 1990 levels by 2010, will be missed by a wide margin, even after an intensive, year-long review of all the measures in the Government's climate change programme, designed to bring it within reach.

I am not going to read it all to you, but I would like to just add to that:

The announcement yesterday of the policy failure came on the day that MPs began an inquiry into a new way of fighting climate change, and Independent readers responded in their hundreds with their own ideas about how to tackle the greatest threat now facing human society.

I am sure that Senator Mitchell would agree with that statement.

I will to make one more point here, because this is important. The Green MEP said that the review failed; the program has failed. They say that Prime Minister Blair has been a terrible failure.

Senator Mitchell: Could you find a more negative way to approach this?

Senator Tkachuk: When asked why the review had failed, Britain's Environment Secretary, Margaret Beckett, said — and this is important — that it had ``. . .turned out to be much more difficult to deliver the target than anybody had anticipated when it was set.'' This was not only the review but also the policy. I just wanted to bring that to the attention of the members here.

Mr. Lazar, my father worked in the pulp and paper industry. I grew up in a little town on the treeline in Northern Saskatchewan, so forestry has always been an interest to me. In 2003, the Agriculture Committee had travelled the country talking about climate change — we were a little ahead of our time. We were trying to get people interested in climate change at that time. We were not that successful, but we did try.

Mr. Ennis is a professor at the Department of Forest Resources Management, University of British Columbia. We had taken testimony from Mr. Ennis, and he is a big believer in climate change and the CO2 problems of climate change. We asked him about the pine beetle, which I asked you about earlier. I want to bring this up because I love my forests too, and I do not want to see them destroyed by the pine beetle. He said that, 30 years ago, it was predicted that there would be trouble concerning the mountain pine beetle. The problem relating to that insect is not just climate change but the age class distribution of forests in central British Columbia. We have been suppressing fires for too long. As a result, the forests have become older and more susceptible to beetle attack.

Maybe the forest industry has been following the right forests; they are not listening to the scientists who have been advising them. I do not know that. I am just trying to point out that there are two opinions.

On the question of sequestering CO2, my understanding is this: Old forests blow much CO2 into the air. As a matter of fact, if an old forest is replanted, it takes 200 to 300 years before we can catch up to the amount of CO2 that has been put into the atmosphere. However, if forests are planted where there have not been forests before, a sink is actually created.

Senator Milne: I believe that trees take carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere, not put it in.

Senator Tkachuk: When a forest dies, it releases carbon dioxide. Maybe you might explain that to Senator Milne, Mr. Lazar, so she understands; but the older the forests, the more CO2. How have forest management practices changed to reflect that problem?

Mr. Lazar: The CO2 captured in a growing forest obviously pulls CO2 out of the atmosphere. A mature forest tends to be a net emitter because there is more death and degeneration. Canada's forests overall are net emitters because we have very mature forests by almost any measure.

That being said, you have to remember when a forest is harvested for pulp and paper and wood products, most of the CO2 remains in the wood. For example, houses made of wood last hundreds and hundreds of years, during which time more CO2 is being sequestered in growing trees. Natural Resources Canada put out a scientific bulletin in which they concluded that, overall, the impact of harvesting in Canada's boreal forest is negligible on stored carbon. We could store more carbon if we took land and started planting new forests, but it would be fairly small areas compared to the existing extensive Canadian forest and would likely be agriculture land returned to forest.

Currently, the UN has concluded that we have a zero deforestation rate because in forestry there is complete regeneration. In urbanization, there is permanent deforestation, as in some oil and gas and other exploration. That has been offset by agriculture lands that are being returned to forest. In fact, one of the biggest determinates of how much land will be forested is agriculture subsidy. When agriculture subsidy is increased, more land is ploughed under; reduce it to the point that people have to live in the market and more agricultural land returns to forests.

Globally, without a doubt the biggest champion deforester is agriculture, and, within agriculture, it is farming. Where people can make a living from the forest, they keep the forest.

The Deputy Chairman: Mr. Bramley would like to respond to the article from the Independent that you quoted.

Mr. Bramley: I wanted to point out that the 20 per cent reduction target bill in 1990, which was referred to as having been missed, is not a Kyoto target. The U.K.'s Kyoto target is a 12.5 per cent reduction in 1990 and the 20 per cent target was going beyond the Kyoto Protocol, which has not gone as far as they hoped. The U.K. is certainly complying with its Kyoto target.

Senator Spivak: I have one question on carbon tax versus cap and trade. Mr. Don Drummond, one of the people listed in that report, has written an article in which he is absolutely in favour of a carbon tax. I am not clear about whether the concept of pricing carbon, which is necessary so that we do not use the atmosphere as a garbage dump, is best served or is it served in both ways?

Mr. Bramley: Our view is that the priority is to price carbon at a high enough level so that it drives investments into the places where we will then get emission reductions. We tend to lean toward a preference for cap and trade mainly because when we price carbon, two effects have to be taken into account. First, there is the effect of the price itself on investment decisions and, second, there is the question of what is done with the money.

Senator Spivak: Of course.

Mr. Bramley: With emissions trading, the money has to be spent on emissions reductions, albeit by someone else but, nonetheless, emissions reductions.

When we have a carbon tax, we have to wonder what will happen to the revenues from that tax. To be fair, there is some blurring because in the long term, we would like to see emissions trading transition to a stage where the emissions permits or allowances would be auctioned off by government. In that way, there would still be an opportunity to decide what to do with the revenues.

In the near term, the certainty that we have that the monies will be spent on emissions reductions tends to cause us to lean toward cap and trade. Another reason is that is the way the world has been going in recent years. We have an international carbon market that was started by the Kyoto Protocol. A number of U.S. states are moving toward cap and trade. Obviously, the EU has been a pioneer. If we want to integrate with what is happening elsewhere, then that is another reason we might want to lean in that direction. Fundamentally, it is important to put a price that is sufficiently high.

Senator Spivak: Both systems price carbon. Is that right?

Mr. Bramley: Yes.

Senator Milne: Mr. Lazar, could the technology that the forest industry is using to generate power from biomass be sold to other industries? Could it be used as a basis for home-grown carbon emissions trading within the country?

Mr. Lazar: The technology we are using is fairly specific to our industry because we have biomass as a by-product. I have suggested to the railways that if they went back to stopping by the side of the woods, we would sell them some wood and they would be carbon neutral as we are. However, they do not seem to want to switch, so I will have to leave it at that for now.

As far as trading goes, we want to see cap and trade because it allows the marketplace to decide. If we tax, then we are forcing everyone to adjust to the same amount. In fact, one mill can adjust a great deal while for another it is just too expensive. With the trade, we can keep both sets of jobs and have exactly the same impact on the environment. Therefore, we are strong believers in cap and trade because it allows the market to find the most efficient solution. Obviously, we do not like taxes in any form and the idea of taxing and then using the dollars for environmental improvements, in our experience with government, is modest at best. We simply assume that government will make the regulations and let us figure it out. Our industry does not want government to take our money and then try to give it back to us.

Senator Robichaud: That is simple enough.

Senator Mitchell: It is becoming so difficult to deny the science of climate change. Many of those who, as recently as 4 to 12 months ago, were denying it, now say that they accept the science. However, they then turn around and say that they will bring in intensity targets, and that is what we will see on Thursday. My view of intensity targets is this: Your basement is three feet full of water and you implement some measures so it that it goes to four feet instead of five feet. Could you clarify, Mr. Bramley, that the science is not only saying that there is climate change but also that we cannot go beyond a certain specified level of carbon dioxide or greenhouse gas equivalents and, therefore, that we have to reduce it or there will be irreversible damage, if that has not occurred already.

Mr. Bramley: Currently, people who study the carbon cycle globally are saying that the environment is able to deal with only about half of every tonne of emissions of greenhouse gases from human activities into the atmosphere. Half of every tonne will be stored in a growing forest or in an ocean, but the remaining half tonne will simply build up in the atmosphere. Over the past several decades, particularly since the industrial revolution, we have seen a rise in the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere. That concentration was extraordinarily stable at 280 parts per million for thousands of years but is now up to about 380 parts per million.

Science says that to prevent the worst impacts of climate change, we need to limit average global warming to no more than about 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. That means we need to stabilize those concentrations at no more than 450 parts per million carbon dioxide equivalent and perhaps even lower. We might have to let the concentrate increase and then bring it back down again with even steeper emissions cuts.

For the kind of emissions reductions from the modelling, we need to reduce global emissions in the order of at least 30 per cent to 50 per cent by the year 2050. Industrialized countries — which have much more responsibility, because we have overwhelmingly caused the problems in the first place, and our emissions per capita are so much higher — will have to do more by 2050 just to stabilize and to stop that build-up in the atmosphere.

Senator Mitchell: Therefore, to accept the science is specifically to reject intensity targets. We cannot have it both ways.

Mr. Bramley: I will not say that. In theory, we can use intensity targets to achieve the same goal that we might reach with an absolute target. As I said before, the problem is that the temptation is for governments to misuse or to abuse intensity targets and to pretend to be doing something that sounds impressive while the reality is that emissions continue to increase, but perhaps at a slower rate.

There was a quote from Mr. Gordon McBain, one of Canada's prominent climate scientists, a few months ago. He said that the atmosphere counts molecules. That is something to remember.

The Deputy Chairman: That concludes our questioning. Mr. Lazar and Mr. Bramley, thank you for appearing to provide your testimony. We appreciate the amount of knowledge that you have imparted to the committee.

The committee adjourned.