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NEWS: Canada working to kill the Kyoto Protocol in Cancun

Canada has just been named as one of three countries working to kill the Kyoto Protocol at the climate talks now underway in Cancun. This afternoon, the Executive Secretary of the Conference of Parties (COP 16) Christina Figueres named Canada, Japan and Russia as countries working to block the second round of emission reduction commitments under the Kyoto Protocol.

Council of Canadians chairperson Maude Barlow asks, “We want to know why is Canada holding the knife that will kill Kyoto?” There has been no public comment from environment minister John Baird or Canada’s chief climate negotiator Guy Saint-Jacques since Ms. Figueres’ comments.

REPORTS CONFIRM CANADA’S ROLE: Agence France Presse corroborates Canada’s role in a report earlier this afternoon that states, “Japan on Monday said it would not support a second commitment period beyond 2012… Canada and Russia are also reluctant to sign up for an extension, say delegates.” The Associated Press reports that, “Earlier this week Japan said it was not interested in negotiating an extension of the Kyoto targets… UN climate chief Christiana Figueres said Russia and Canada also oppose extending their Kyoto targets.”

ALBA COUNTRIES SAY THAT’S UNACCEPTABLE: The Associated Press also reports that, “Negotiators from Venezuela, Bolivia, Nicaragua and Ecuador…said they would not accept the refusal by some developed countries to extend their binding emissions targets under the Kyoto Protocol, the climate pact that expires in 2012.” Reuters adds that, “The position of the developed countries was ‘unacceptable’, said Bolivia’s head of delegation Pablo Solon.”

CHINA AND THE US: Bloomberg reports that, “China…wants to stick with the model set by the existing 1997 Kyoto Protocol, which requires only developed countries to reduce greenhouse-gas pollution, which is blamed for damaging the atmosphere. The US, which never ratified Kyoto, says this is unacceptable and it won’t sign a treaty unless the document binds all major emitters, including developing nations such as China and India. Japan says it makes no sense to extend the Kyoto agreement without the two biggest polluting nations (China and the United States) subject to its terms.”

LITTLE RISK FOR CONSERVATIVES?: The Globe and Mail’s Bruce Anderson defends environment minister John Baird’s pre-Cancun comments about needing all “oars in the water” for the protocol. He writes that, “For voters who care a lot about achieving reductions in GHGs it will be harder to ignore the reality of the important impact that China is having on emissions, and they too may wonder about the wisdom of a plan which exempts too many of the fastest growing developing economies. …One more reason why the risk for the Conservatives around a global climate treaty are receding…”

TIMELINE: The AP report concludes that, “Figueres said she wasn’t expecting the positions of the ALBA nations and the developed countries to ‘dramatically change’ in Cancun. …She and other U.N. officials hope for agreements on secondary issues at Cancun, and expect this central dispute to extend into next year’s negotiations.”

CETA IMPLICATIONS? MarketWatch reports that, “Already, Canada, Japan and Russia have expressed opposition to the continuation of the Kyoto Protocol, which sets binding emission-reduction targets for 37 industrialized nations and the entire European community.” Agence France Presse reports that, “The Protocol is hugely supported by developing countries and has been championed by the European Union.” The European Union has pledged to cut its carbon emissions by 30 percent below 1990 levels by 2020 and has been demanding that Canada make comparable commitments. Under Harper, Canada’s carbon emissions will actually continue to rise during this period.

MOST KYOTO SIGNATORIES STILL SUPPORT KYOTO: Of the original signatories, only Canada, Russia and Japan are opposing it. That means 34 countries and the EU (27 more countries) for a total of 61 developed countries that Kyoto applies to are good with extending it. 184 countries (including many developing countries) worldwide have ratified the Kyoto Protocol.

CANADA’S RECORD: Canada had pledged under Kyoto to a 6 percent reduction in emissions below 1990 levels by 2012. Between 1990 and 2007 Canada’s emissions increased about 26 percent. And Canada is the only signatory country to have walked away from signing Kyoto.

CANCUN AND KYOTO: One of the goals for COP 16 is to negotiate Kyoto’s next commitment phase, which will begin in January 2013.

Read the Council of Canadians’ media release at http://canadians.org/media/energy/2010/03-Dec-10.html.