COP 17 threatened by Kyoto pullout
30 November 2011, 11:40
Durban - A Canadian pullout of the Kyoto Protocol
would badly damage a UN climate process already weakened by divisions,
negotiators and NGOs said on Tuesday at talks in Durban.
countries that are historically responsible for the problem to
explicitly back out would undermine the process and the credibility of
what we are trying to do," said Seyni Nafo, spokesperson for the
54-nation Africa Group in the UN forum.
"How are we to going to ask India and China to do more when Canada is saying, 'OK, we're checking out of the Kyoto Protocol?"
On Monday, Environment Minister Peter Kent, speaking in Ottawa, said Canada "will not make a second commitment to Kyoto".
New agreement wanted
He refused to confirm or deny reports that his country had already decided to formally pull out of the pact.
said Canada's goal was "a new international agreement, eventually
binding, which would include all the major developed and developing
The UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) gathers 194 countries under a process launched under the 1992 Rio Summit.
at the annual talks, running in Durban until December 9, is running
high over the fate of Kyoto, the only global accord that specifies curbs
in greenhouse gases.
Current pledges by rich countries under Kyoto expire at the end of 2012.
Several key nations beside Canada, including Japan and Russia, have said they will not renew their vows.
say a second commitment period is senseless so long as emerging giants
and the US, which has refused to ratify the Protocol, are not bound by
the treaty's constraints.
Even the European Union (EU), a consistent champion of the treaty, says its continued support is conditional.
But the bigger question is one of formal withdrawal.
Canada did so, it would be the first country to abandon the agreement
after ratifying it, an action that would carry a symbolic wallop.
Nafo and others at the Durban talks that got underway on Monday emphasised that Canada has not yet withdrawn from the treaty.
I understand it correctly, there is some internal thinking on going on
Canada's position on the KP," said the EU's chief negotiator, Artur
"Of course if they would leave the Kyoto Protocol, that would be a sad thing."
Green groups angry
Green groups reacted angrily to the prospect of a Canada pullout.
"If confirmed, it would be extremely disappointing," said Tasneem Essop, head of international climate strategy for WWF.
"It would have an impact on the Canadian government's ability to enter into these negotiations with credibility," she told AFP.
pulling out of the Kyoto Protocol would set an extremely bad precedent
here at the talks. It can do nothing but further enhance the mistrust
that already exists between rich and poor nations," said Ilana Solomon
Japan repeated on Tuesday that it would not renew its Kyoto vows, but said it had no intention of a formal withdrawal.
"We believe that there are good elements in the Kyoto Protocol," said Masahiko Horie, ambassador for global environment affairs.
agreed under the Kyoto Protocol to reduce CO2 emissions to 6% below
1990 levels by 2012, but emissions have instead increased. Pulling out
of Kyoto would allow Canada to avoid paying penalties for missing its