` Columbia Journal - Health: Business, Labour Push kyoto
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Business, Labour Push kyoto

The David Suzuki Foundation is enlisting the help of labour unions across the country to encourage the federal government to sign on to the protocols of the Kyoto Accord, says foundation director Gerry Scott.

The Accord, which has generated scathing opposition by corporate Canada's and its supportive politicians, seeks to reduce greenhouse gas emissions-a main factor in the current global warming trend on the planet.

Scott says stalling tactics and fear mongering by corporate lobbies and right-wing governments against the Accord are simply adding to a serious problem confronting everyone.

"There is a dearth of environmental leadership in Canada," he said. "The Kyoto protocols are fine, but, like any collective agreement, they must be enforced to work."

He says the claims made by forces opposed to Kyoto simply lack any fact, especially around the dire predictions of job loss if the protocols are adhered to. He cites reports showing that economic activity in industrialized nations, such as Western Europe and Japan, has actually improved since their governments began implementing the Kyoto protocols.

"With proper just transition strategies for workers in place, the job creation and economic performance outlooks in these countries are improving, as new more energy efficient and sustainable economic sectors open up," he said. "It seems the corporate interests that oppose Kyoto aren't as smart as they would like us to think."

Scott mentioned the recent statement by the Communication, Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada, the largest energy-producing group of workers in the country, endorsing the Kyoto Accord and encouraging Ottawa to sign on.

"Corporate Canada likes to whine about the costs of Kyoto without considering the costs to the economy of global warming," he said. "They don't mention the cost of over 300,000 hectares of (commercial) forests being lost to pine beetle infestations, or arctic communities having to be relocated due to melting permafrost and rising sea levels, because of global warming."

He adds the main argument against Kyoto is that it is unfair since industrialized countries are being pushed to sign the Accord, while many developing and Third World nations are refusing to do so. Scott says that also is not a legitimate objection.

Scott says Canada, with around 30 million people, burns more fuel than the entire continent of Africa, with a population of about 800 million.

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