Canadian Consulting Engineer

Provinces take action on climate change

August 3, 2010
By Canadian Consulting Engineer

Three of Canada's largest provinces have joined with two U.S. states to impose a cap-and-trade system for gree...

Three of Canada’s largest provinces have joined with two U.S. states to impose a cap-and-trade system for greenhouse gases on heavy industrial emitters. On Tuesday, July 27, Quebec, Ontario and British Columbia announced they would impose the cap and trade system along with California and New Mexico, as part of the Western Climate Initiative.
Such a system means that industries are allowed to emit a maximum level of greenhouse gases, and for any more emissions that they produce over that limit, they will have to pay a levy – in the form of buying credits from companies that produce less greenhouse gases. In this way “green” companies benefit financially, and heavy emitters are financially penalized.
According to a report in the Globe and Mail, critics are saying that the federal government is probably  pleased that the provinces have made this move and are acting independently to curb greenhouse gases because it means the federal government won’t
have to impose a national cap and trade program, which would offend Alberta.
In the U.S., efforts to introduce a cap and trade system have been derailed for now, after Democrats in the U.S. decided last week that they do not have enough support to push such legislation through.
Meanwhile, a report just issued by the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) based on a huge amount of data has concluded that indeed the earth has been warming over the past 100 years, and that the last decade is the hottest ever.
The study was based on climate indicators measured by 160 research groups in 48 countries. They measured 10 indicators and found all showed the warming trend. The measurements included air temperatures over land, sea-surface temperatures, air temperature over oceans, sea level, ocean heat, humidity and the temperature of the troposphere – and in all of them the graph was rising sharply. On the other hand, Arctic sea ice, glaciers and spring snow cover in the Northern Hemisphere are all decreasing.
Derek Arndt, a co-editor of the report, “State of the Climate,” said that it was meant to be a “kind of medical check-up for the planet,” and that he was “personally taken aback by how all indicators clearly showed the Earth is heating up” (Globe and Mail).
The study was compiled by researchers in Canada, the U.S., Britain and Australia. Environmentalists are using it to heal the damage done after the leaked e-mail controversy last year at the University of East Anglia in England had exaggerated evidence about climate change. Three investigations into that scandal have concluded since that the U.K. scientists did not tamper with the evidence.


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