Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Dithering along

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The Manitoba government abandoned its commitment to the Kyoto Accord two years ago, saying the rules prevented it from counting passive measures such as its large boreal forest and export sales of Hydro power to the United States.

The province, in other words, was never truly committed to the hard choices needed to achieve significant reductions in carbon emissions.

On Thursday, the province felt the need to repeat the fact it was dropping its Kyoto targets because it couldn't meet its emission-reduction goals. Former premier Gary Doer had predicted his NDP government would be defeated in 2011 if it failed to meet its environmental promises, but, of course, almost no one cared, which is precisely the problem.

In any event, the province unveiled its Green Plan last year, which focused almost entirely "on being caretakers of the water, air and land."

The latest plan calls for consultations to identify "realistic" targets for carbon reductions, as well as requirements for companies to report how much pollution they are spewing, but these measures should have been done 10 years ago

The province has also belatedly recognized the importance of adaptation, and not just mitigation. Manitoba farmers, municipalities and homeowners need to prepare for the impact of climate change, which could include heavier snow loads on roofs, drought, heat waves, more spring flooding, insect infestations and a variety of other problems.

The latest announcement amounts to more dithering, but at least they're dithering in the right direction.

Editorials are the consensus view of the Winnipeg Free Press’ editorial board, comprising Catherine Mitchell, David O’Brien, Shannon Sampert, and Paul Samyn.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition June 24, 2013 A8

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