China says Canada's Kyoto withdrawal "regrettable"
BEIJING Dec 13 (Reuters) - China's Foreign Ministry said on Tuesday Canada's decision to quit the Kyoto treaty on greenhouse gas emissions was "regrettable" and called on the country to continue abiding by its commitments on climate change.
On Monday, Canada became the first country to announce it would withdraw from the Kyoto Protocol. Canada, a major energy producer, has long complained that the agreement is unworkable because it excludes many significant emitters from binding action.
China, the world's biggest emitter of greenhouse gases from human activity, has long insisted the Kyoto Protocol remain a foundation of international efforts to curb these emissions causing global warming.
"It is regrettable and flies in the face of the efforts of the international community for Canada to leave the Kyoto Protocol at a time when the Durban meeting, as everyone knows, made important progress by securing a second phase of commitment to the Protocol," Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Weimin said at a news briefing.
"We also hope that Canada will face up to its due responsibilities and duties, and continue abiding by its commitments, and take a positive, constructive attitude towards participating in international cooperation to respond to climate change."
China's state news agency, Xinhua, denounced as "preposterous" Canada's decision, calling it "an excuse to shirk responsibility".
"Canada's so-called reason for dropping out of the agreement is preposterous and completely an excuse to shirk responsibility," Xinhua said.
The commentary urged Canada to "retract its decision and return to the Kyoto Protocol, so that it can make positive contribution to the cause of global emissions reductions."
At recently concluded climate change negotiations in Durban, South Africa, China won an extension of the protocol until 2017, but also bowed to pressure to launch later talks for a new pact that would legally oblige all the big emitters to take action.
Under Kyoto, poorer countries including China, take voluntary, non-binding steps to curb the growth of emissions while they focus on economic development, and rich nations must sign up to quantitative cuts in emissions.
The United States has refused to join the protocol and argued that China and other big emerging emitters should come under a legally binding framework that does away with the either-or distinction between advanced and developing countries. (Reporting by Chris Buckley and Sui-Lee Wee, Editing by Ken Wills and Paul Tait)
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