[QODLink]
Americas
Canada quits Kyoto climate protocol
Environment minister says global accord intended to tackle global warming "does not represent a way forward for Canada".
Last Modified: 13 Dec 2011 10:25
The emissions protocol, initially adopted in Kyoto, Japan, in 1997, is aimed at fighting global warming [Reuters]

Canada will formally withdraw from the Kyoto Protocol on climate change, the country's minister of the environment has said, making it the first nation to pull out of the global treaty. 

MISSING TARGETS
 

Several countries have missed the greenhouse gas emission targets they committed to under the Kyoto Protocol. The following some of the offenders, ranked in order of the largest margin of difference of targeted vs actual emissions

 Iceland:           10% | 35.1%
 Canada:            -6% | 17.0%

 Australia:           8% | 30.4%
 New Zealand:    0% | 19.4%
 Spain:             15% | 29.8%
 Ireland:            13%| 13.8%

Source: United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change

The protocol "does not represent a way forward for Canada" and would have forced it to take "radical and irresponsible choices", Peter Kent said in Toronto on Monday.

He added that it was a mistake for Canada to have signed up for Kyoto: "As we've said, Kyoto for Canada is in the past ... We are invoking our legal right to formally withdraw from Kyoto."

"The Kyoto protocol does not cover the world's two largest emitters, China and the US, and therefore cannot work," he said.

China, which argues that it should be exempt from emissions reduction targets because it is a developing nation, said Canada's decision was "regrettable" and went against international efforts to tackle climate change.

"We hope Canada will face up to its responsibilities and obligations, honour its commitments and actively participate in relevant international co-operation against climate change," a Chinese foreign ministry spokesman said. 

Megan Leslie, environment spokesperson for Canada's opposition New Democratic Party said the government was abdicating its international responsibilities.

"We all knew the rumours. We all heard the reports that Canada planned to withdraw from Kyoto, and so today we actually saw it laid out before us," she said.

'Kyoto is the past'

The move does not come as a surprise, especially since Kent said last month that "Kyoto is the past".

He said the cost of meeting Canada's obligations under Kyoto would cost $13.6bn.

"That's $1,600 from every Canadian family; that's the Kyoto cost to Canadians. That was the legacy of an incompetent liberal government," he said.

The right-of-centre Conservatives took power in 2006 and made clear they would not stick to Canada's Kyoto commitments.

Canada's former Liberal government signed up to Kyoto, which obliged the country to cut emissions to six per cent below 1990 levels by 2012. By 2009, emissions were 17 per cent above the 1990 levels. 

Canada's delegation said little during recent climate talks in South Africa where countries agreed to extend the Kyoto protocol and hammer out a new deal to force big polluters to cut greenhouse emissions.

Canada has said 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.

The decision to quit will not help the international reputation of the North American country, a major energy producer which critics say is becoming a climate renegade.

Source:
Agencies
Topics in this article
People
Country
City
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
'Justice for All' demonstrations swell across the US over the deaths of African Americans in police encounters.
Six former Guantanamo detainees are now free in Uruguay with some hailing the decision to grant them asylum.
Disproportionately high number of Aboriginal people in prison highlights inequality and marginalisation, critics say.
Nearly half of Canadians have suffered inappropriate advances on the job - and the political arena is no exception.
Featured
Women's rights activists are demanding change after Hanna Lalango, 16, was gang-raped on a bus and left for dead.
Buried in Sweden's northern forest, Sorsele has welcomed many unaccompanied kids who help stabilise a town exodus.
A look at the changing face of North Korea, three years after the death of 'Dear Leader'.
While some fear a Muslim backlash after café killings, solidarity instead appears to be the order of the day.
Victims spared by the deadly disease are reporting blindness and other unexpected post-Ebola health issues.