Canada withdraws from Kyoto Protocol
13 December 2011, 15:15
Ottawa - Canada on Monday became the first country
to formally withdraw from the Kyoto Protocol, saying the pact on cutting
carbon emissions was preventing the world from effectively tackling
"We are invoking Canada's legal right to formally
withdraw from Kyoto," Environment Minister Peter Kent said following a
marathon UN climate conference in Durban, at which nations agreed to a
new roadmap for worldwide action.
The landmark pact reached in 1997 is the only global treaty that sets down targeted curbs in global emissions.
But those curbs apply only to rich countries, excluding the United States, which has refused to ratify the accord.
"Kyoto is not the path forward for a global solution to climate change," Kent said. "If anything, it's an impediment.
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."
under the Kyoto Protocol to reduce CO2 emissions to 6.0% below 1990
levels by 2012, but its emissions of the gases blamed for damaging
Earth's fragile climate system have instead increased sharply.
the targets agreed to by a previous Liberal administration were
unattainable, Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper's government
last year unveiled its own measures aimed at curbing emissions, in line
with US efforts.
Pulling out of Kyoto now allows Canada to avoid paying penalties of up to US$13.6bn for missing its targets.
Kent also cited major impacts on Canada's economy that will be avoided by withdrawing from the treaty.
Kyoto, Canada is facing radical and irresponsible choices if we're to
avoid punishing multibillion-dollar payments," Kent said, noting that
Canada produces barely 2% of global emissions.
"To meet the
targets under Kyoto for 2012 would be the equivalent of either removing
every car, truck, ATV, tractor, ambulance, police car, and vehicle of
every kind from Canadian roads or closing down the entire farming and
agricultural sector and cutting heat to every home, office, hospital,
factory, and building in Canada."
Kyoto supporters, the anticipated Canadian pullout was expected to be a
symbolic blow and badly damage a UN climate process already weakened by
Last week at the UN climate conference in Durban, Kent had already said that Kyoto was "in the past" for Canada.
"It is an agreement that covers fewer than 30% of global emissions, by some estimates 15% or less," the Canadian minister said.
conference on Sunday approved a roadmap towards an accord that for the
first time will bring all major greenhouse-gas emitters under a single
If approved as scheduled in 2015, the pact will be
operational from 2020 and become the prime weapon in the fight against
But environmentalists have called it porous.
said that in the meantime, Canada would continue to try to reduce its
emissions under a domestic plan that calls for a 20% cut from 2006
levels by 2020, or as critics point out, a mere 3% from 1990 levels.
The latest data last year showed that Canadian carbon emissions were currently up more than 35% from 1990.