Canada pulls out of Kyoto, says UN Durban deal is ‘way forward’

13 December 2011 02:01  [Source: ICIS news]

TORONTO (ICIS)--Canada is withdrawing from the Kyoto climate change treaty, a government minister announced on Monday.

“We are invoking our legal right to formally withdraw from Kyoto,” federal environment minister Peter Kent said in a statement.

“This decision formalises what we have said since 2006 that we will not implement the Kyoto Protocol,” Kent added.

Kent said Canada’s compliance with Kyoto would have resulted in the loss of thousands of jobs or the transfer of Canadian dollars (C$) $14.0bn ($13.6bn) from Canadian taxpayers to other countries – while overall global emissions would keep rising because Kyoto does not cover the US and China which are the world’s major emitters of greenhouse gases.

Kent – who is a minister in Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s Conservative government –blamed Canada’s previous Liberal government for the country’s inability to comply with Kyoto’s greenhouse gas reduction targets.

“Because a previous Liberal government signed on to Kyoto in 1997 with no intention of ever meeting targets – then did nothing for years – Canada was lagging well behind by 2006,” he said.

Environmentalists have pointed to Canada’s oil sands industry as one factor that made compliance with Kyoto hard.

The industry has been criticised, both at home and abroad, because of its high greenhouse gas emissions.

Kent, for his part, said a deal reached on 11 December at the UN climate conference at Durban in South Africa was “a way forward”.

"We believe that a new agreement, with legally binding commitments for all major emitters that allows us as a country to continue to generate jobs and economic growth, represents the path forward,” Kent said.

The participants at the UN climate conference extended the life of the Kyoto protocol and agreed to put in place a new binding climate change accord by 2015, which would take effect on 2020.

Meanwhile, Germany’s chemical industry trade group, Frankfurt-based Verband der Chemischen Industrie (VCI), said the deal reached at Durban falls short as it remains unclear exactly “how binding” that yet-to-be agreed new climate treaty would be for all emitters of greenhouse gases.

($1 = C$1.03)

Bookmark Doris de Guzman’s Green Chemicals Blog for some independent thinking on green chemicals

By: Stefan Baumgarten
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