CANADA QUITS KYOTO CLIMATE PACT
Canada officially renounced the expiring Kyoto Protocol on Monday, a day after international negotiators agreed to extend the treaty's limits on carbon emissions blamed for a warming climate.
Environment Minister Peter Kent said Ottawa would keep working to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions and help negotiate a new framework for a global pact. But in a statement to reporters on his return from last week's climate conference in South Africa, Kent said that for Canada, Kyoto 'is in the past.'
Canada's decision is 'bad news' for global efforts against climate change, the French foreign ministry said yesterday. 'Canada's announcement that it is withdrawing from the Kyoto protocol is bad news for the fight against climate change,' ministry spokesman Bernard Valero told journalists. 'It is out of the question to relax our efforts or to break the dynamic of the Durban agreement,' he said.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper's Conservative government has long opposed the Kyoto protocol and has refused to implement it since taking office in 2006. Ahead of the decision, the opposition New Democratic Party accused his government of 'standing up for big polluters' at the expense of ordinary Canadians and risking the country's reputation by abandoning the 1997 treaty.
Kent said Kyoto's goals were unworkable because the United States and China, the world's two largest sources of carbon emissions never agreed to Kyoto, and that a new pact is needed to address emissions from rapidly growing economies including those of China, Brazil and India.
Nations in the Durban talks agreed to extend Kyoto's efforts over the weekend and launched an effort to set up a broader pact with a legal format to curb carbon emissions.
The talks also launched a Green Climate Fund, which would essentially channel about $100 billion by 2020 to vulnerable countries to help them deal with the effects of climate change.