Ottawa officially unveiled its plan for complying with the Kyoto Protocol yesterday. The Globe and Mail and Vancouver Sun (subscription required) have good coverage. Unfortunately, the news was mostly drowned out by a continuing scandal that may trigger a new federal election.

The upstaging of the announcement is disappointing, because the Kyoto "plan" deserves an intense public debate–something it’s unlikely to get during the hockey brawl of a Canadian federal election.

I put the word plan in quotes because Ottawa’s proposal is terribly short on specifics. It largely consists of more than $1 billion a year in federal funding to invest in greenhouse gas reduction projects. That’s enough money to get something done–an excellent start and a miraculous achievement when compared with US intransigence. But it’s also almost surely doomed to be inadequate, because it doesn’t do much to make prices tell the truth. And it’s lame compared with what’s going on in Europe.

I’ve argued that feebates–point-of-purchase incentives that are an elegant combination of fees and rebates–could be the turbocharger that can deliver on Canada’s Kyoto promise. And Ottawa has promised to consider them. Read more about that here.