The Heat Is Online

Canadian Minister Misquotes Researcher to Ditch Kyoto

Canadian Environment minister angers Washington think tank


Scholar quoted by Ambrose is 'horrified'


CanWest News Service, Oct. 7, 2006


An academic from a progressive think tank based in Washington is furious that Environment Minister Rona Ambrose used recent remarks by her to attack the Kyoto protocol on climate change.


Daphne Wysham, a fellow from the Institute for Policy Studies, said Ambrose is using her think tank's criticism of the Clean Development Mechanism to abandon Canada's responsibility to live up to its commitment under the international agreement.


"I'm horrified by that," Wysham said in a phone interview. "I certainly don't want to see Canada pulling out, did not want to the U.S. pulling out. We want to see Kyoto strengthened."


Ambrose made reference to the think tank on Thursday during a parliamentary committee arguing that the mechanism, which allows countries to get credits for investments in developing nations to reduce emissions, had no accountability.


The Conservatives have criticized the Liberals for committing millions of dollars in spending overseas to help meet Canada's Kyoto targets, without tracking the projects they were supporting to ensure they were legitimate.


"There is a lot of evidence now about the lack of accountability around these kinds of products," Ambrose told the committee. "I'll tell you what a clean development expert said at the Institute for Policy Studies. . . [She] said `you're creating all kinds of incentives for corruption."'


Wysham admitted she criticized the mechanism, but explained that she was urging countries to develop alternatives to make more effective progress in the fight to reduce greenhouse gases in the atmosphere that cause climate change.


"You don't throw the baby out with the bath water," she said. "We do find some flaws in the  CDM, but that said, I think there is the potential to at least begin to fix some of the problems."


Ambrose has insisted Canada remains committed to Kyoto, however the Conservatives voted against a private member's bill that would require the government to implement a plan to honour Canada's obligations under the international agreement.


"In the meantime, Canada should absolutely be shooting for their emission targets reduction at home," Wysham said. "It's no excuse if you're saying we can't trust the system abroad. Let's see you put your money where your mouth is at home."


Ambrose's office did not return phone calls seeking comment.


© CanWest News Service 2006