The 1 Tonne Challenge vs. The 4 Tonne Challenge

Weekly Bulletins


The “One Tonne Challenge” programme recently announced by Canada's Department of the Environment is a worthwhile effort and should be supported. But, unless the Department of Citizenship and Immigration co-operates, this department will almost completely negate any positive effects the “One Tonne Challenge”' may achieve.

According to the Department of the Environment, each Canadian produces 5 tonnes of greenhouse gases per year. The purpose of the “One Tonne Challenge” is to have the average Canadian reduce his greenhouse gas emissions by one tonne per year. In 2005, with a population of 32 million, Canada would reduce such emissions by 32 million tonnes.

The Department of the Environment calculates an average Canadian's greenhouse gas emissions by dividing Canada's total emissions by its total population. (160 Million Tonnes/32 million Canadians= 5 Tonnes per Canadian) To achieve The Department of the Environment's goal, the programme would focus on reducing Canadian consumption. For example, Canadians would be asked to cut fossil fuel use, electricity consumption, etc.

“Canada has committed to reducing its emissions to 6% below its 1990 emission levels. The problem is that in 1989-90, Canada also committed itself to high immigration levels in perpetuity, says Dan Murray of Immigration Watch Canada. “From 1989 to 2004, Canada took in about 3.5 million immigrants. A very conservative birth rate of 1.5% for these 3.5 million raises the total of new people
from that intake to 5.2 million. If we assume that each of these people produced 5 tonnes of emissions, then these 5.2 million are currently producing about 26 million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions. This figure is not too far from the 32 million figure the Department would like to have Canadians cut.

“In other words, if Canada had used a bit of foresight in 1990, it could have reduced greenhouse gas emissions significantly by reducing immigration levels.

“Currently, Canada's Department of Citizenship and Immigration is making the greenhouse gas situation worse by continuing to bring in around 250,000 immigrants per year—despite the fact that it has never produced any real justification for these high numbers.

“Let's look 15 years into the future. Immigrants tend to have more children than Canadian-born, so at the current intake of 250,000+ each year, Canada would have close to 4 million new people from immigration intake alone. The number of children born to these immigrants would bring the increase to 6 million new people. Multiplying this number by 4 tonnes would bring the total of greenhouse gas emissions to 24 million tonnes.

In other words, within 15 years, Canada would come close to negating the gains produced by the current “One Tonne Challenge”. Canada would find itself back in the position it finds itself in today. In other words, the efforts of the Department of the Environment will be almost completely undermined by the Department of Citizenship and Immigration.

“The Department of Citizenship and Imigration has heard this criticism before. But they have chosen to ignore it and gloss it over with their standard proclamations about economic benefits and the wonders of multiculturalism and diversity. The Department of the Environment has also heard this criticism. However, the former Minister of the Environment had a habit of hiding in his office whenever he was asked about immigration's effect on the environment. The new minister has yet to show his views.

“The most prominent scientists in the world have repeatedly stated that stabilizing and reducing population should be a world goal. Some Canadians, especially those in elected positions and in government bureaucracies like Immigration, continue to think that this statement applies only to countries like China and India.

“However, based on national differences in per capita income, the average Canadian's consuming power is 30 to 50 times as much as a person in one of the world's poorest countries. Consequently, the impact of the current Canadian population is equivalent to that of from 900 to 1500 million people in the poorest regions of the world. In other words, the population of Canada may seem small, but its impact on the planet is enormous. And because of Canada's cold climate, that impact will probably always be high.

“Consequently, it is imprudent to think that Canada can take unending and ever-increasing numbers of people. Canadians have to take the 'One Tonne Challenge' from the federal Department of the Environment. But they have to demand that the federal Department of Immigration take the remaining 'Four Tonne Challenge' by dramatically reducing immigration levels.”