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Séance d'information pour les médias
offerte par le ministre Anderson

à la suite des propositions américaines relatives à l'air pur et aux changements climatiques

14 février 2002

  l'Honorable David Anderson
l'Honorable David Anderson, c.p., député
Ministre de l'Environnement


Conference Call/Téléconférence

Transcription prepared by Media Q Inc. exclusively for Environment Canada

Transcription préparée par Media Q Inc. exclusivement pour Environnment Canada

DATE/DATE: February 14, 2002 4:00 p.m.

LOCATION/ENDROIT: Colombia (via conference call)

PRINCIPAL(S)/PRINCIPAUX: Michel Cléroux, Chief of Media Relations,

Environment Canada;

The Honourable David Anderson, Minister of Environment

SUBJECT/SUJET: Environment Minister David Anderson Gives a Conference Call from Colombia to Canadian Journalists

Operator: Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for standing by and welcome to the Environment Canada conference call. Mesdames et messieurs, merci d'être restés en ligne. Bienvenue à la conférence téléphonique pour l'Environnement Canada. At this time all participants will be in a listen-only mode. Later we will conduct a question and answer session. At that time if you have a question you will need to press the 1 followed by the 4 on your telephone. Pour l'instant les participants sont en écoute seulement. La période des questions commencera suivant la présentation. Si vous souhaitez poser une question vous devriez appuyer sur le 1 suivi du 4 sur votre téléphone. I will now turn the conference over to Mr. Michel Cléroux. Je cède maintenant la parole à monsieur Michel Cléroux. Sir, please go ahead.

Michel Cléroux: Hi. Good afternoon. Bonjour. Ici Michel Cléroux. I'm chief of media relations at Environment Canada. In a second I will be introducing Canada's Minister of the Environment David Anderson. As you know, earlier today the president of the United States, George W. Bush, released certain US proposals on clean air and climate change. Comme vous savez, il y a quelques heures seulement le président des États-Unis, le président Bush, a émis quelques commentaires et quelques propositions au sujet de l'air et du changement climatique et alors nous avons demandé -- monsieur Anderson serait prêt à faire quelques commentaires, un court énoncé suivi de quelques questions et réponses. Mr. Anderson will now make a statement followed by some questions and answers. Mr. Anderson?

Hon. David Anderson: Merci Michel. Canada welcomes this renewed US engagement on clean air and climate change. After all, the United States contributes about a quarter of the world's greenhouse gas and it's vital that they take part with other countries in working towards a solution. Certainly we hope that the progress that the United States is making along this path will help lead that country to rejoin the multilateral battle against climate change.

We're pleased that the US approach features many of the things that Canada is doing or considering doing to achieve our Kyoto target which include: development of clean energy technology, partnerships domestically and internationally, incentives to spur the uptake of clean air technology and technology transfer to developing nations. Now we're going to have to study the United States approach very closely and I've not had the chance to do that but based on the US interest in partnerships we want to increase our cooperation with the United States on clean energy technology throughout North America.

In particular I welcome the move to a cap and trade program to reduce the three serious air pollutants of nitrogen oxide, sulphur dioxide and mercury. This will certainly lead to cleaner air across North America and therefore will save lives of citizens on both sides of the border. I can commit now on behalf of Canada to do our part to reduce these pollutants here at home under the 10-year clean air plan which I announced two years ago.

Now in Canada we're continuing to move towards our Kyoto target. We're continuing to push to meet our Kyoto Protocol commitments. Our goal is to ratify the protocol after we have developed our implementation plan, completed our analyses of the implication and consulted with provinces, territories, stakeholders and Canadians. I have to say that I am concerned that the United States continues to question the scientific basis of the climate change problem. In Canada we accept the science of climate change which, incidentally, is mostly from United States sources. We're seeing the impact of climate change in Canada particularly in our northern regions and this compels us to join in a global effort. Obviously we have much work still to do and we need to conduct the meaningful consultations with stakeholders that I mentioned a moment ago and we need to work on a plan that ensures that there's no unrealistic burden on any one region of our country.

We also understand President Bush's emphasis on increasing energy security through conservation and development of new energy sources. Under any US policy scenario, the environment will benefit from cleaner fuels and more cleaner fuels being used in the United States and Canada can help to meet those goals through further energy development of cleaner fuels. And that underlines the importance of our continuing to aggressively pursue recognition of the benefits of the greater use of clean energy and in our case of course recognition for clean energy exports.

For our part we have to keep focussed on our climate change goals. I completely agree with the recent editorial in a national newspaper of the need to stick with the Kyoto Protocol and that one of the reasons for doing so is its business sense. It said, and I quote, "The case for controls on greenhouse gases will grow more compelling, not less compelling, as warming accelerates and those countries that can cut their emissions at the lowest possible cost will ultimately be more competitive, not less." And this is indeed, I think, good common sense and one reason why we will continue to focus on our Kyoto goals.

Michel Cléroux: Thank you, Minister. Operator, would you like to go ahead and ask if there are questions? Est-ce qu'il y a des questions des journalistes?

Operator: Very well, Mr. Cléroux. Ladies and gentlemen, we'll now begin the question and answer session. If you have a question, please press the 1 followed by the 4 on your telephone. You will hear a three-tone prompt acknowledging your request. If your question has been answered and you would like to withdraw that registration, you may press the 1 followed by the 3. If you are on a speaker phone please pick up your handset before entering your request. Mesdames et messieurs, nous allons maintenant passer à la période des questions. Si vous souhaitez poser une question, veuillez appuyer sur le 1 suivi du 4 sur votre téléphone. Vous entendrez alors une triple tonalité indiquant que votre question a bien été enregistrée. Au cas où une réponse aurait déjà été donnée à votre question et que vous souhaitez d'annuler, appuyez sur le 1 suivi du 3. Si vous êtes à un téléphone à mains libres, décrochez la combine avant de composer les chiffres. Un instant pour la première question. One moment, please, for our first question. Our first question comes from Ms. Julie van Dusen with CBC Television. Ms. Dusen, please go ahead.

Question: Yes, hi. President Bush calls his plan a better approach. I'm gathering from what you're saying you don't agree with that but maybe you can elaborate.

Hon. David Anderson: No, we do not agree that it's a better approach. We believe the United States made a mistake in rejecting the Kyoto system. That said, it's water under the bridge; it occurred a year ago and we're looking at the program that he has put forward. There are a number of aspects in it which are very positive and I would stress the approach is the cost-effective way using improved technology, using incentives and developing a domestic and international partnership arrangement. Nevertheless we would of course regard this as first steps in a longer journey. We do not think that what was announced today is all that is needed from the United States' side to deal with the issue of climate change.

Operator: Our next question comes from Mr. Dennis Bueckert with the Ottawa Citizen. Please go ahead.

Question: It's actually Canadian Press. That's fine. Mr. Anderson, do you see problems in making our efforts jive with theirs considering the very different framework?

Hon. David Anderson: No, I think that we're going to have to look at the details closely. I hope that can be done in the days ahead. Nevertheless, in broad outline we see here the United States re-engaging on the issue of climate change. We also see them taking steps which we believe are compatible with a continental approach involving Mexico and Canada but in addition, wider international community. I believe in fact there's some $40 billion of debt swap for protection of tropical rainforest in his program and there will be other measures of that type which we think will be important. So I think that we'll be analysing it closely but I do not think there are any aspects which would be incompatible aspects with our Kyoto-based approach.

Question: Our next question comes from Kate Jaimet who is with the Ottawa Citizen. Please go ahead.

Question: I am with the Ottawa Citizen. When will we see from Canada a concrete plan? I know you've had your first plan out to get us one-third of the way but we're still waiting for the other two-thirds. When will we see a concrete plan to meet our Kyoto goals and do you think that plan will include mandatory reductions?

Hon. David Anderson: Well, we have set our timetables based upon 2002 being the year for decision on ratification as expressed by the prime minister in June of last year. We have set two tentative dates, heads-up dates, not necessarily deadlines but heads-up dates of the 1st of June of this year prior to the Kananaskis meeting and of course prior to the meeting in Johannesburg. So I think we can now proceed with the planning and the discussion with provinces, territories and with provinces, territories and stakeholders. I think that's obviously something that has to happen and hopefully it can happen by June. If not, it will happen later.

Question: But what can they discuss if they haven't seen the plan, like plans for what would an emissions trading system look like? Are there proposed mandatory caps on emissions? How can they discuss if you don't put something forward concrete for them to discuss?

Hon. David Anderson: Well, there are a large number of details available on many aspects of the plan. What we have not done, however, and which must be done prior to finalizing a plan in Canada is to make sure first that we have the consultations so we can have the views of people, the views of citizens, provinces, territories and interest groups as we formulate the plan. I hope this doesn't sound like a chicken and egg situation.

Question: It does.

Hon. David Anderson: Well, I guess I have the same complaint of your question.

Question: All right, fair enough.

Hon. David Anderson: I think, you know, I think most of us perhaps are on the same problem. We have to have consultations before we can come up with what's the most realistic plan. The second thing is to make sure, as the prime minister has made very clear, that no region of the country bears a disproportionate burden and therefore you can't come in without having initial consultations with those regions, with those territories and with those industries - at least any planning would be very tentative at that point. And let us remember we've had five years of discussions about potential impact so I think you're going to see that partly at the joint ministerial meeting with the provinces and territories which occurs later this month and partly through to the June date.

Question: Through to June, okay.

Michel Cléroux: Excuse me, the minister is of course very, very busy in Cartagena right now with the meeting that's going on there of UNEP and so I'm afraid we'll have to limit the questions. The fourth question will have to be the last.

Operator: Our final question will come from Sunny Lewis with the Environment News Service. Please go ahead.

Question: Thank you. Mr. Anderson, there in Cartagena the delegates to the UNEP governing council, what has been their reaction to Mr. Bush's speech?

Hon. David Anderson: Actually the reaction here has been remarkably muted. The reason for that is we are immersed in very intense discussions on the future of the world's environmental programs and the financing of world environmental programs. So we simply -- we have 90 ministers here from every part of the world. And it's next to impossible for us to break out of the intense work we're doing, which is against deadlines, to sit down and discuss the American proposals. So all I can say is I've had very tentative comments. Most have been similar to ours, regrets that the American plan did not go further but nevertheless a recognition that it's a step forward at least to have an American plan which we've not had for the last few months. By the way, il n'y avait pas une question en français alors s'il y a peut-être une question en français je voudrais répondre au moins à quelques-unes, une ou deux avant de quitter. On m'a dit que j'ai encore quatre ou cinq minutes.

Operator: Minister Anderson, right now we do not have -- actually we do have one question queued up in French. It will be from Mr. Louis-Gilles Francoeur. Please go ahead. S'il-vous-plaît.

Question: Monsieur Anderson ---

L'hon. David Anderson: C'est moi.

Question: Oui, Louis-Gilles Francoeur du Devoir. J'aurais voulu que vous me répétiez votre position générale en français pour être sûr de pouvoir bien vous citer quels sont les principaux traits parce que j'ai manqué le début de votre conférence de presse. Je m'en excuse.

L'hon. David Anderson: Bon merci. Alors on est bien content que les États-Unis ont recommencé leur engagement avec les autres pays du monde au sujet des gaz à l'effet de serre. C'est clair que les Américains ont reconnu qu'il y a un problème et que leur programme que le président a annoncé aujourd'hui indique quelques pas sur le chemin et j'espère bien que ça va mener aux États-Unis de nouveau parmi les autres pays du monde au sujet de la lutte contre l'effet de -- les gaz à l'effet de serre. On est content que les Américains ont choisi quelques moyens que nous, le Canada, a déjà décidé de faire ou que nous sommes en train de considérer de faire. Par exemple, le développement de la nouvelle technologie pour l'énergie propre, les partenariats au niveau international et domestique, et aussi l'aide financière ou l'aide par moyen du système de (inaudible) pour encourager la technologie propre. Et aussi on voit dans le programme américain aussi ils n'ont pas oublié les pays en voie de développement. Ils indiquent là que le transfert de technologie ou à ces pays est dans leur plan. Ça aussi c'est une partie du plan canadien.

Alors on n'a pas eu le temps d'examiner le plan américain en détail mais nous voulons avoir une coopération étroite avec les Américains surtout sur le niveau de technologie. Il ne faut pas oublier qu'au même temps de gaz à l'effet de serre les Américains dans le plan annoncé par le président ont parlé des polluants de l'air. Ça veut dire les polluants de l'air qui sont dans nos poumons jour après jour. Les oxydes d'hydrogène, le dioxyde de soufre et le mercure et avec le programme américain sur ces trois choses annoncé aujourd'hui nous aurons l'air plus propre. Ça veut dire que le Canada est content de voir -- est content de voir ça parce que nous, nous avons un programme que j'ai annoncé il y a deux ans an mai de l'année 2000, un plan de 10 ans pour nettoyer l'air au Canada et sans la contribution des Américains, sans la coopération des Américains c'est très difficile de le faire.

Alors nous, on continue avec le programme de Kyoto. On continue de travailler pour le moins 6% du niveau de '90 et puis nous voulons ratifier le protocole de Kyoto mais on ne va pas le faire, on ne peut pas le faire sans avoir les consultations avec les provinces, avec les territoires, avec les groupes intéressés et les Canadiens. De plus, nous ne voulons pas ratifier avant d'avoir un plan en place à discuter par les intéressés qui va réduire l'impact régional avec le but qu'aucune région va payer un prix plus élevé que d'autre. C'est ça le programme et ces deux choses doivent être prêtes avant que la décision sur la ratification peut être faite.

On a du travail à faire, c'est clair. Mais on a parlé aussi et le président Bush a parlé aussi de la sécurité de l'énergie pour les États-Unis par voie de conservation et on est bien content de voir ça mais aussi le développement des nouvelles sources. Le Canada qui fournisse aux Américains pas mal de gaz naturel, ça veut dire une source d'énergie propre, s'intéresse beaucoup à ce qu'ils veulent dire. On peut aider les Américains à achever leur cible disons par moyen du développement au Canada de cette énergie propre. Mais, mais il faut au même temps au Canada continuer de reconnaître que nous voulons des crédits pour l'énergie, l'exportation d'énergie propre. Sans ça ça devient difficile. Voilà en général pour Le Devoir, les autres journaux voilà ce que j'ai dit il y a quelques moments en anglais.

Operator: Mesdames et messieurs, sur cela nous allons terminer l'appel d'aujourd'hui. Malheureusement le ministre comme il a dit est très occupé. Il faut nous quitter. Ladies and gentlemen, on that note we will end today's conference call. The minister, like he said, is extremely busy this afternoon and is unfortunately forced to leave us at this time. We thank you very much for your participation in this conference and wish you all a great day. Mesdames et messieurs, nous vous remercions beaucoup de votre participation aujourd'hui. Nous vous remercions pour votre participation.

Michel Cléroux: Thank you very much.