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HomePolicy Articles Article Summary

Implementing Kyoto: Risks and Choices

Briefing by Al Howatson, Gilles Rheaume

Howatson and Rheaume argue that implementing the Kyoto Protocol presents both the opportunity to protect the environment and provide business opportunities, but that it also present costs and risks that need to be managed and mitigated. The authors contend that critical attention must be paid to ensure that short-term action does not outweigh the serious thought and debate required to work out long-term strategies that make the most sense for Canada.

Howatson and Rheaume note that Canada negotiated the Kyoto Protocol without a strong analytical foundation. They posit that Canada’s commitment preceded solid analysis and planning, which presents risks for future activities and outcomes. They identify four major risks that Canada faces: 1) that Canada will fall well short of its targets; 2) that continued uncertainty over an implementation plan will depress investment in the Canadian energy sector; 3) that increased energy costs will shift new investment and production outside of Canada; and, 4) that focus on this decade’s commitments will impede development of long-term strategies.

As Howatson and Rheaume point out, it would have been wise for Canada to undertake greater analysis and assessment before making its Kyoto commitments; at the same time they acknowledge that the opposite danger of “paralysis by analysis” might have prevented Canada from making any commitments at all. Howatson and Rheaume suggest that each region, industry and firm in Canada must identify and manage its own risks.

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Policy Publication Details

Author(s): Al Howatson; Gilles Rheaume;
Publisher: Conference Board of Canada [ Visit Website ]
Year Published: 2003; Publisher Type: Research Institute
Publicly Available: No Research Focus: National;
Registration Required: Yes Language: English
Payment Required: No Publication Format: Adobe PDF

Subjects / Categories:

Policy Articles / Environment & Climate / Climate Change
Policy Articles / Environment & Climate / Environmental Law & Regulation
Policy Articles / Environment & Climate / Climate Change / 2003
Policy Articles / Environment & Climate / Environmental Law & Regulation / 2003
Policy Articles / Environment & Climate


Keywords / Tags:

Kyoto Protocol; environmental regulations; risks of implementation; Canada's environmental commitments; long-term strategies;