Canada faces legal challenge over Kyoto withdrawal

WASHINGTON (Thomson Reuters Point Carbon) - The Canadian government’s withdrawal from the Kyoto Protocol is illegal, alleges a suit to be filed in federal court by a law professor and former Canadian MP on Friday.

Daniel Turp, professor of law at the University of Montreal and former MP of the Bloc Québécois party, said Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s government has violated national law by withdrawing from the 1997 climate treaty last month without first consulting Parliament.

On December 12, Environment Minister Peter Kent announced Canada would become the first country to invoke its legal right to withdraw from Kyoto, arguing it would save the country around C$14 billion ($13.7 billion) by not having to comply with its emissions target under the pact.

“I think we have a good case and I hope the court of law can decide the government cannot ignore Parliament and legislation to adopt the Protocol,” Turp told Point Carbon News by phone ahead of Friday’s hearing.

Turp argues the ruling Conservative party has violated Canada’s 2007 Kyoto Protocol Implementation Act, a bill that forced the government to take measures to implement the global climate pact.

Under Kyoto, Canada pledged to reduce its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions 6 percent below 1990 levels between 2008 and 2012.

A government report last year predicted Canada’s GHG emissions would be nearly 30 percent over its Kyoto target by 2012, but Harper and his officials have said Canada would not attempt to meet its goal under the treaty.

Green groups have launched legal challenges against the federal government in the past few years for failing to enforce the Implementation Act.

Turp said the environmental group Association Québécoise de Lutte contre la Pollution Atmosphérique (AQLPA) will join Turp in the lawsuit.

He said should the federal judge rule in his favor, he would anticipate an appeal by the government.

Turp added that he would continue his efforts until the case reaches the Canadian Supreme Court.