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Implementing Kyoto in Canada: The Role of Nuclear Power

On December 17, 2002, Canada ratified the Kyoto Protocol, committing itself to reducing its greenhouse gas emissions by 6 percent of 1990 levels. This paper argues that nuclear power must be an indispensable component of CanadaÕs Kyoto implementation strategy. This is because nuclear power, unlike other conventional energy sources of coal, natural gas, and oil, does not contribute to the emission of greenhouse gases. Nuclear power is frequently criticized for its environmental record (radiation, production of waste, reactor safety), but a comparison with the other major energy sources reveals the green advantages of nuclear power. One potential opportunity is using nuclear power in the Alberta oil sands which would contribute to Canada meeting its emission reduction targets while limiting the economic/political dislocation caused by implementing the Kyoto Protocol. The paper concludes by explaining why, despite the above advantages, the federal government has failed to properly utilize nuclear power in its strategy to meet its Kyoto commitments.

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Energy Specializations: Nuclear Power – Markets and Prices; Nuclear Power – Policy and Regulation; Energy and the Environment – Climate Change and Greenhouse Gases; Energy and the Environment – Policy and Regulation

JEL Codes: Q42: Alternative Energy Sources, Q40: Energy: General, Q54: Climate; Natural Disasters and Their Management; Global Warming, Q20: Renewable Resources and Conservation: General, Q24: Renewable Resources and Conservation: Land, Q53: Air Pollution; Water Pollution; Noise; Hazardous Waste; Solid Waste; Recycling

Keywords: Kyoto protocol, nuclear energy, Canada, greenhouse gases, energy policy

DOI: 10.5547/ISSN0195-6574-EJ-Vol26-No1-5

Published in Volume 26, Number 1 of the bi-monthly journal of the IAEE's Energy Economics Education Foundation.


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