As the Kyoto Protocol was going into effect in Canada on February 17th, the competition was fierce for the expert opinion and reactions of Professor Jocelyn Martel (left), Coordinator of Glendon’s Environmental and Health Studies Program (within the Department of Multidisciplinary Studies). Martel was interviewed by three French-language television and radio stations, broadcasting in different parts of Ontario and across Canada.
The national news on Radio-Canada (the French CBC) on February 14th featured Martel in an interview with reporter Marc Godbout. They discussed the issues and implications of the Kyoto Protocol for Ontario, and in particular for coal-fired power stations in the province.
On February 15th, Martel was interviewed live on Radio-Canada’s program, “Ondes urbaines” (Urban Waves), by host Sylviane Jeanson. This program was broadcast in Toronto and Windsor, and Martel was asked to comment on the problems he foresees for Southern Ontario with the implementation of the Kyoto Protocol.
Next, on February 18th, Martel was interviewed in a taped recording by Éric Robitaille, host of Radio-Canada’s program, “Quelque part entre la 11 et la 17” (Somewhere Between Highways 11 and 17), broadcast in Sudbury and Northern Ontario. And, once again, the topic of discussion was Kyoto and Ontario, with particular emphasis on the situation in Northern Ontario.
The Kyoto Protocol was originally signed in 1997 by nearly 180 countries, with the objective of reducing greenhouse gas emissions in order to stop and, in time, reverse global warming and its adverse effects. The treaty was the first legally binding plan to tackle climate change, building on a scheme launched at an Earth Summit in 1992 to stabilize emissions at 1990 levels by 2000 - a goal that was not met. Over the past decade, nations have continued to subsidize the fossil fuel industry and steadily increased their burning of fossil fuels – ignoring commitments made at Kyoto.
Following Russia's ratification of the Kyoto Protocol in 2004, a critical mass of signatories was reached and the way was paved for the agreement to finally come into force. Seven years after the treaty was first signed, it has finally come into effect on February 17th. It commits Canada to cut its greenhouse gas emissions in the period of 2008 to 2012 by about 20 to 30 per cent from what they would have otherwise been.
"I call on the world community to be bold, to adhere to the Kyoto Protocol, and to act quickly in taking the next steps. There is no time to lose!”, said U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan.
Within Canada, as well as within other countries that have signed the Kyoto Protocol, a heated debate continues about the pros and cons and the possible adverse effects on business, the nation’s economy and on individual family budgets. Professor Martel’s comments and insights highlighted the ecological implications and the long-term effects of not meeting Canada’s commitment.
Article submitted by Glendon communications officer Marika Kemeny