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Premier pushes Kyoto

'We know that climate change is real'

Mike W. Bryant
Northern News Services

Yellowknife (Aug 02/02) - Premier Stephen Kakfwi said one topic he intends to bring to the table before this year's Premiers' Conference wraps up today is the yet unratified Kyoto Accord.

Stephen Kakfwi

He faces opposition, however, from Alberta Premier Ralph Klein, who opposes the Kyoto Accord.

"Unfortunately, I think Klein is trying to protect his options for what he calls 'clean coal,'" said Kakfwi in Halifax on Wednesday.

"What is clean coal? Is Alberta coal cleaner than Louisiana coal? What in the world is clean coal? There's no answer to that."

Kakfwi conceded, however, that if the Kyoto Accord were to be ratified and carbon emissions reduced, the NWT may have to take its "lumps" too. "We haven't put a dollar price on what Kyoto would mean to the Northwest Territories, but we know that climate change is real and it's going to take a tremendous toll on not only the Northwest Territories, but Alberta and every province in Canada," said Kakfwi.

"We have to stop worrying about how it's going to impact us in our backyard, and just encourage our Canadian government to try to position itself so that it takes a lead role in addressing this huge issue."

Kakfwi made a veiled warning to De Beers, which is currently in the planning stage for a diamond mine in the NWT -- which would produce substantial carbon emissions -- that they may suffer under the accord if they don't agree to polish diamonds in the territory.

"If De Beers wants to go ahead with diamond mines it's got to have some benefits to us," said Kakfwi.

"Right now, De Beers is saying no to diamonds for the (NWT).

"They're going to take every diamond out of the ground and ship it directly to London, and nothing for Canadians, and nothing for the Northwest Territories. So, that's just not on."