Canada formally withdraws from the Kyoto Protocol

canada flagCanada became the first country to announce officially its withdrawal from the Kyoto Protocol declaring that the accord which deals with the cutting of carbon emissions has not permitted to tackle the issues relating to climate change effectively. This came as a blow to the accord on climate crisis as no other country has formally relinquished it.

Canada’s Environment Minister Peter Kent said that the treaty does not stand for the progress of Canada or the world and therefore it is exercising its legal right to pull out of the treaty.

Last year Canada, together with Japan and Russia, had announced that it will not accept new Kyoto commitments, but withdrawing from the agreement is another setback to the treaty which was widely accepted by almost all the countries with much triumph in 1997.

The Kyoto Protocol which came into effect in February 2005 after 140 countries ratified it and it aimed at fighting global warming and climate change issues. The previous Liberal government of Canada had signed the accord but it was not fully implemented and it was never embraced by Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s Conservative government.

The main criticism that was leveled against the Kyoto Protocol has been that it does not include the world’s largest two emitters, United States and China, and therefore it cannot work effectively to tackle climate change issues. Kent remarked “It’s now clear that Kyoto is not the path forward to a global solution to climate change. If anything it’s an impediment.”

The withdrawal of Canada comes a day after lengthy climate discussions were wound up in the South African port city of Durban.

Delegates from as many as 200 countries had agreed on a deal that would set the world on a path to sign a new climate treaty by 2015 to substitute the first Kyoto Protocol, which expires at the end of next year.

Kent said the Durban agreement does represent a path of progress. Durban’s accord envisages a new agreement with binding targets for all countries that would come into force in 2020.

The supporters of the Kyoto accord see the withdrawal of Canada is probably going to be a significant blow to the UN climate progression already weakened by divisions among the member nations.

Canada decided to withdraw itself from the Kyoto Protocol as it said that the protocol does not represent a way forward. This was announced by the Canadian Environment Minister Peter Kent immediately after his return to Ottawa. This move by Canada has invited criticism from various countries with China and India leading the way. Although the move is legal and was expected from Canada, it makes it the first country to withdraw from the Protocol.

The Kyoto Protocol was adopted in 1997 with an aim to protect the environment by reducing emissions of various greenhouse gases. More than 190 countries had agreed on extending the Kyoto Protocol for the next five years. This was due to expire at the end of the next year. Canada justified its pullout saying that it would be subject to penalties equal to almost $13.6 billion under the terms of the treaty for not cutting emissions by the required amount by 2012. The UN Climate Chief said that Canada would still have a legal obligation to cut its emissions irrespective of its withdrawal from the treaty.

Canada formally withdraws from the Kyoto Protocol

Report by Radhalakshmi R

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