A special task force set up by the government of Manitoba has called for increased production and use of renewable energy and a reduction in the use of fossil fuels that contribute to provincial greenhouse gas emissions.WINNIPEG, Manitoba, CA, 2001-09-28 [SolarAccess.com] The Manitoba Task Force on Climate Change, led by former federal minister Lloyd Axworthy, says early action is needed because the speed and scale of climate change predicted will be crucial for future economic development, particularly for agriculture, transportation, forestry and energy. He wants an agreement with the United States and Mexico for a co-ordinated program of measures to reduce GHG emissions, including energy efficiency improvements, alternative energy technologies and the substitution of renewable energies for imported fossil fuels. “Any effective North American climate change action plan must involve climate change commitments by the United States,” and the task force recommends that “climate change issues are addressed and incorporated as a prerequisite for adoption of any North American Energy Policy.” “Although the administration of President George Bush has stated that it does not intend to ratify the Kyoto Protocol, the U.S. has ratified the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and, consequently, must develop its own plan to address climate change,” the report adds. “The June 2001 report to President Bush by the National Academy of Sciences reinforced the position that, regardless of any rejection of the Kyoto Protocol’s terms, action in one form or another on climate change is essential.” “Due to our close economic relationship, Canada should coordinate its climate change policies with those of the U.S. to the greatest extent possible,” explains the report. An important priority for Canada is to “define the climate change components, such as renewable energy and emissions credits, that must be addressed as fundamental issues in the process of establishing a continental energy policy with the United States and Mexico.” But it says an agreement involving the U.S. and Mexico should be a pre-condition for Canada’s negotiation of a continental energy policy, and it suggests that Manitoba will show the way for other regions of Canada to begin a more concerted effort to reduce the harmful impacts of climate change. Prepared after a series of province-wide public meetings, the final report also calls for an emissions trading system for Canadian industries and utilities, and it challenges Canadian policy makers to ratify the Kyoto protocol and to lead the world by example in a co-operative national drive to reduce GHG emissions. The eight-person task force was established by the provincial government in March and given a mandate to provide practical advice that can serve as the basis for government action on climate change. “Given Manitoba’s high stake in Canada’s clean energy future, the Task Force suggests that Manitoba take leadership among the provinces and territories in reformulating Canada’s climate change plans, especially in light of the July agreement in Bonn on how the Kyoto Accord could be implemented,” it explans. It calls for the establishment of a $75 million Climate Change Partnership initiative funded jointly by the three levels of government.