Kyoto: Good News Story For Canada's Economy

Report Released as Governments Consult Albertans in Calgary

Calgary, June 14, 2002 — Real-world evidence about initiatives to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and address other environmental challenges provides a sound basis for concluding that Canada's competitiveness is likely to benefit, not suffer, if Canada ratifies the Kyoto Protocol. This is the overall conclusion of a report1 by the Pembina Institute, released today by the Canadian Climate Action Network.

"Opponents of the Kyoto Protocol talk a lot about competitiveness but they use the term in a misleading, narrow and short-term sense," said Dr. Marlo Raynolds of the Pembina Institute and an author of the report. "Kyoto is a good news story for Canada's economy because it will stimulate efficiency, innovation and business opportunities."

The Pembina Institute report cites dozens of studies that strongly support five key findings:

  • LEADERSHIP: By taking a lead to address environmental issues, governments position firms in their jurisdictions to be more efficient and competitive in future markets. In the U.K., for example, the Confederation of British Industry pushed for an early regulatory framework to meet and go beyond Kyoto requirements in order to gain a strategic competitive advantage.
  • POLICIES: Governments can design policies in a manner that respects legitimate competitiveness concerns. Emissions trading systems, renewable energy quotas and vehicle fuel efficiency standards are all competitiveness-friendly because they leave producers and the marketplace to decide how to meet environmental objectives.
  • EFFICIENCY + REDUCTIONS = COMPETITIVENESS: Firms that take action to improve efficiency and reduce GHG emissions also improve their competitiveness. In the oil and gas sector, for example, BP's CEO John Browne recently described how his company had met its global 10% GHG reduction target seven years ahead of schedule and "at no net economic cost".
  • BUSINESS OPPORTUNITIES: Major business opportunities are being created for innovative firms as a result of Kyoto. Canada's Vision Quest (windpower), Ballard (fuel cells) and Iogen (ethanol fuel) are leading examples. But hesitation over Kyoto is currently keeping Canada behind our competitors (including the U.S.) in new, rapidly growing industries like windpower.
  • FINANCIAL REWARDS: Financial markets reward firms that are environmental leaders, thereby enhancing their competitiveness.

"This report highlights a recurring tendency for industry to exaggerate the costs of complying with environmental initiatives," said John Bennett, Executive Director of the Canadian Climate Action Network. "Federal and provincial governments should look beyond the economic fear-mongering to recognize the many benefits to Canada from ratification of the Kyoto Protocol."

The release of the Pembina Institute report coincides with the Calgary session of the national government consultations on climate change and Kyoto.

1 The report, entitled "How Ratifying the Kyoto Protocol Will Benefit Canada's Competitiveness," can be downloaded from or

For more information contact:

Dr. Marlo Raynolds, Pembina Institute (report author), 403-607-9427
Dr. Matthew Bramley, Pembina Institute (report author), 613-235-6288 ext. 26 or 613-262-1818
John Bennett, Canadian Climate Action Network, 613-291-6888

The Pembina Institute's Calgary-based Corporate Eco-Solutions Program, directed by report author Marlo Raynolds, works with corporations and institutions to develop strategies and practices for reducing waste generation, resource use and energy consumption while increasing their sustainability. The Canadian Climate Action Network is a coalition of national and regional environmental groups concerned about global warming.

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