Canada to pull out of Kyoto protocol

OTTAWA Mon Dec 12, 2011 5:39pm EST

Environmental activists wearing masks with the faces of Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper (R) and European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso (L) demonstrate outside a meeting of the World Business Council on Sustainable Development in Durban, December 5, 2011.  REUTERS/Mike Hutchings

Environmental activists wearing masks with the faces of Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper (R) and European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso (L) demonstrate outside a meeting of the World Business Council on Sustainable Development in Durban, December 5, 2011.

Credit: Reuters/Mike Hutchings

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OTTAWA (Reuters) - Canada will pull out of the Kyoto protocol on climate change, Environment Minister Peter Kent said on Monday, dealing a symbolic blow to the troubled global treaty.

Canada will become the first country to formally withdraw from Kyoto, which it says is badly flawed because it does not cover all major emitters of greenhouse gasses, notably the United States and China.

The news came as little surprise, especially since Kent said last month that "Kyoto is the past." The right-of-center Conservatives took power in 2006 and made it clear they would not stick to Canada's Kyoto commitments.

"As we've said, Kyoto for Canada is in the past ... We are invoking our legal right to formally withdraw from Kyoto," Kent told reporters after returning from talks in Durban, South Africa, on extending the protocol.

He gave no details on when exactly Ottawa would pull out, but said Canada would be subject to enormous financial penalties under the terms of the treaty unless it withdrew.

The announcement will do little to help Canada's growing reputation as an international renegade on the climate. Green groups awarded the country their Fossil of the Year award for its performance in Durban.

Ottawa says it backs a new global deal to cut emissions of greenhouse gases, but insists it has to cover all nations, including China and India, which are not bound by Kyoto's current targets.

Canada's former Liberal government signed on to Kyoto, which obliged the country to cut emissions to 6 percent below 1990 levels by 2012. By 2009 emissions were 17 percent above the 1990 levels.

Kent says the Liberals should not have signed up to a treaty they had no intention of respecting.

Environmentalists quickly blasted Kent for his comments.

"Mr. Kent does not understand what he is sentencing our children to. Catastrophic climate change will cost them far more," said John Bennett, executive director of the Sierra Club Canada.

(Reporting by Randall Palmer, writing by David Ljunggren; editing by Christopher Wilson)

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Comments (10)
Alexander_Sr wrote:
This sort of thing should’nt surprise anyone in Canada seeing as that the (cons)ervatives in Ottawa are no better than the Republicans in the US and are only there to make the 1% richer while at the same time destroying the environment.

The prisons that the Harpro government is building will do just fine once they are charged and convicted at a future date with crimes against humanity.

Dec 12, 2011 5:54pm EST  --  Report as abuse
Alexander_Sr wrote:
This sort of thing should’nt surprise anyone in Canada seeing as that the (cons)ervatives in Ottawa are no better than the Republicans in the US and are only there to make the 1% richer while at the same time destroying the environment.

The prisons that the Harpro government is building will do just fine once they are charged and convicted at a future date with crimes against humanity.

Dec 12, 2011 5:54pm EST  --  Report as abuse
matthewslyman wrote:
Perhaps we need free trade/ reduced tariff treaties to be linked to environmental criteria (such as, participation in environmental accords). The 60% of the world population that supports Kyoto and its successors, could have some influence on the 40% of the world that doesn’t… How else can the major economies be persuaded to do what is right for their flood-prone island & drought-prone savannah dwelling neighbours? Any ideas on how to involve the United States, China and India, and accomplish something worthwhile at the same time?

Dec 12, 2011 6:19pm EST  --  Report as abuse
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