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NEWS: Canada will withdraw from Kyoto Protocol

CTV reports, “Canada will announce next month that it will formally withdraw from the Kyoto Protocol… The Harper government has tentatively planned an announcement for a few days before Christmas…” The Guardian UK reports, “Canada has (already) admitted it will fail to meet its Kyoto protocol target of a 6% cut compared with 1990 levels: in 2009 its emissions were 34% higher.” This news breaks as the United Nations climate conference in Durban opens today.

The CTV report says, “Kent said in the House of Commons on Nov. 22 he won’t sign a document at the Durban conference that extends the Kyoto targets. ‘Canada goes to Durban with a number of countries sharing the same objective, and that is to put Kyoto behind us,’ Kent said. …Kent told The Canadian Press that the Kyoto Protocol is out of date because it excludes major emitters among developing nations, including China, India and Brazil. …Kent told CP in an interview ahead of the Durban conference that Canada will play hardball with developing countries to get an agreement during the climate talks. Kent said developing countries should not be allowed to use the emissions records of wealthy nations as an excuse not to agree to lofty emissions-reduction targets.”

“According to Kent, should a binding agreement for developing countries come out of the Durban conference (which is not expected), the wealthier nations will be more willing to finalize a plan on the Green Climate Fund. However, he also said the fund’s future could be in jeopardy if developing nations don’t allow for international scrutiny. During the talks, Canada will also announce its plans for its annual financial commitment of $400 million to help poorer countries tackle climate change. Kent said most of the money will be given through bilateral agreements, and half of the money will be distributed as repayable loans.”

“NDP environment critic Megan Leslie called the government’s decision to pull out of the Kyoto accord ‘disappointing’. ‘It’s a really cynical and it’s a really cowardly move,’ Leslie told CTV News. Green Party Leader Elizabeth May called the move ‘a very damaging act of sabotage’. ‘It will reverberate around the world,’ May told CTV. ‘Canada will be a pariah globally if it goes through with this.'”

In a media release to be issued this morning, Council of Canadians chairperson Maude Barlow says, “This reveals just how adverse the Harper government is to addressing climate change. This announcement, on the first day of the UN climate talks, is a betrayal to the goal of an effective international deal when many countries have been clear Kyoto is vital to forward movement.”

Energy and climate justice campaigner Andrea Harden-Donahue adds, “The Harper government says this is about getting a UN climate deal that puts all countries under one banner. It’s not. This is about getting a deal with voluntary emission reduction targets and other loopholes that allow business as usual in Canada – more emissions. This government has demonstrated a serial disregard to addressing climate change, allowing vital programs to expire, helping pave the path for a tripling of tar sands emissions and actually lobbying against other countries climate policies.”