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Environmental management in the oil sands region

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United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Kyoto Protocol

Climate change related to human actions is now widely accepted as a serious issue, and has received much national and international attention. In 1992, most countries joined the international treaty called the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), to pursue solutions to global warming and address the consequences of temperature change (UNFCCC, 2007). The legally binding extension of the UNFCCC, the Kyoto Protocol, was ratified by Canada in 1998 and put into force February 2005, obligating Canada to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 6% from 1990 levels between 2008 to 2012. However, by November 2006 the Government of Canada declared that it no longer wished to comply with Kyoto's target emissions (Library of Parliament 2007). Instead Canada showed support for the Asia-Pacific Patnership, an alternative to Kyoto.

The Kyoto Protocol Implementation Act was passed into law by the Canadian government on 22 June 2007, as a private member's bill. This bill was not supported by the governing party and has not been implemented fully. The KPIA obligates the government to do three things: (1) prepare a Climate Change Plan; (2) prepare a statement on GHG emissions; and (3) ensure that Canada meets its obligations as outlined in the Kyoto Protocol (Library of Parliament 2007). So far the Climate Change Plan has been drafted but the stated emissions reductions are well below those required in the Kyoto Protocol.





Syncrude upgrader and refinery
Source: Syncrude
( click to enlarge )

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