Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Kyoto Lawsuit Against Harper Government Fails

Oct. 20 (Bloomberg) -- The Canadian government won't have to face three suits accusing it of failing to draft a plan to meet pollution-reduction goals, with a federal judge saying he couldn't issue a meaningful order for the government to follow.

Two environmental advocacy groups, Friends of the Earth and Ecojustice Canada, sued the government in September and asked the judge to order the government of Prime Minister Stephen Harper to comply with a June law requiring it to prepare a plan to meet the emissions targets of the Kyoto Protocol. The law passed with the support of opposition parties, which had a majority of the votes in Canada's parliament.

Such an order would be so devoid of meaningful content and the nature of any response to it so legally intangible that the exercise would be meaningless,'' Judge Robert Barnes said in a 40-page ruling issued today.

Pity, but there you go.

At this moment environmentalists should be looking to make sure the Tories implement the plan they have already offered. It is in fact a series of regulations that set intensity targets for polluters, and then gives them several offset-buying alternatives should they fail to meet these targets. It sucks, but it's there. Should a new government come in, raze the regulatory mechanism that the Tories are building, and start from scratch--well, this counts as another form of delay, doesn't it? Instead, our hypothesized new government should toughen up whatever regulations the Tories leave behind (assuming they are serious about implementing any sort of green plan).

Update: Ruling is here.

7 comments:

Mark Francis said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mark Francis said...

APPEAL! ;)

Harper's system is basically cap and trade, with the cap being very flexible. The more you produce, the higher the cap. Think of a hat on an oil gusher: the higher the gush, the higher the cap.

Still, it can do something because the gush doesn't always stay under the cap, so to speak.

Another ruling party could adopt the system to use hard caps instead. If the reporting mechanisms are reliable, then the regs could work.

Ti-Guy said...

I don't really understand the ruling (as you've reported it here). The decision, as explained, is as vague as the non-meaningful decision the court claimed it would make.

Oh, who cares. We're all doomed, anyway.

bigcitylib said...

"Another ruling party could adopt the system to use hard caps instead. If the reporting mechanisms are reliable, then the regs could work."

Exactly.

James Bowie said...

I'm a big fan of Kyoto, but I can't say I've ever understood the legal rationalle here. I don't think pacta sunt servanda is entrenched in common law.

This is the kind of thing I would love to have explained to me over beers at a blogger event.

LNeumann said...

Given that it's an intensity-based plan, Harper's "plan" is worse than useless, and not likely to achieve its own targets.

I suppose a new government may be able to fix this, somehow. Or, maybe even Harper himself will be forced to get serious about the issue, when a new US President is elected.

For now, our best hope may be to go back to supporting the provinces and cities in their plans to reduce carbon emissions.

Ti-Guy said...

Or, maybe even Harper himself will be forced to get serious about the issue, when a new US President is elected.

Why not? He's opportunistic enough and his supporters just agree with the last thing he's said.