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The Kyoto Agreement 

Listen to the Eco-FilesClimate change: what's the big deal? Well, climate change is the gradual warming of the earth's atmosphere, caused, some would argue, by greenhouse gas emissions. The global community became concerned with this issue and called an international conference to address the issue. The Kyoto Agreement came out of an United Nations conference officially held in Japan in 1993 to discuss the global issue of climate change. Certain objectives were set to help reduce global greenhouse gas emissions, and individual countries could choose to accept them. Canada signed the agreement in 1998, committing to reduce emissions to six percent below 1990 levels by 2008—2012. However, Canada has not ratified the agreement due opposition from the Alberta government.

Coal Mine near Wabamun LakeThe Alberta government is concerned the province will experience the most impact because of its large amount of energy production and coal use.  According to the Alberta government, the agreement could cost the province more than eight billion dollars and thousands of jobs annually. Because of the revenue losses, programs and services will also have to face cuts.  As well, between 1990 and 1997 emissions increased 13 percent. 

Certain stakeholders, industry representatives in particular, also state that the Kyoto stipulations are unattainable and will cost the province millions in revenues as the development of our natural resources would be curbed. Environmentalists argue that things need to change a lot, and they have to be changed now or else the consequences could be more than just not meeting protocol of an agreement. They say it could mean the eventual destruction of our natural world. Listen to this issue's EcoFile to learn more about the Kyoto Agreement and Climate Change. 



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