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NEWS: Canada tearing ‘the heart’ out of Kyoto accord

More than sixteen Postmedia news websites are reporting that, “This weekend’s emergence of Canada’s position at the 16th annual meeting of members of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in Mexico drew criticism from environmental groups, including the Council of Canadians.”

“The strong criticism came as news emerged that Canada, Russia and Japan had stood together in opposing the extension of Kyoto Protocol’s legally binding greenhouse-reduction targets.”

“The council said that while the Harper government has long denounced the Kyoto accord, it now appears to be leading the charge away from legally binding targets.”

“‘The difference is now what we’re seeing is Canada act along (with) a small number of countries to bring about what could kill Kyoto,’ said Andrea Harden-Donahue of the council. ‘Now we’re influencing potentially what’s happening on an international scale,’ she said. ‘It’s like ripping the heart out of the agreement.’”

“The Kyoto Protocol, which wraps up its first phase at the end of 2012, was the first to set absolute caps on greenhouse gas pollution from developed countries, and require climate change plans from all of its members.”

“(The) much weaker (Copenhagen Accord) includes major polluters such as the U.S., which had never signed Kyoto. But aside from setting a goal of preventing temperatures from rising more than two degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, the accord provided no binding targets on pollution from any of the countries.”

“A spokesman for Environment Minister John Baird said the Copenhagen Accord brings into the fold the world’s largest emitters. ‘I’m not sure what the surprise about this is,’ communications director Bill Rodgers said Saturday. Our position has always been that you have to have all countries that emit (greenhouse gases) in an agreement,’ he said. ‘Otherwise this kind of agreement doesn’t work.’ He said: ‘It’s not a matter of killing Kyoto. Kyoto is still in place and will be in place until 2012. We want to turn a new chapter in this discussion. That chapter brings all major emitters in the world into an agreement.’”

“A draft of the text the global environment ministers will be working from when they arrive in Cancun for the four-day conference was to be tabled Saturday night.”

“The Council of Canadians said they fear the document will push toward the merger of Kyoto with Copenhagen and adopt the latter’s weaker emissions targets in the process.”

The full article in the Montreal Gazette is at