Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Canada Officially Withdraws from the Kyoto Protocol

Although it was widely expected, one day after the conclusion of COP 17 in Durban, Stephen Harper's Conservatives formally withdrew from the world's only climate change combating global treaty. December 12,2011 will be remebered as the day Canada withdrew from the Kyoto Accord. Environment Minister Peter Kent made the announcement that Canada would be the first nation to withdraw from the Accord.

At one point Canada claimed they were abandoning Kyoto because developed nations like China were not part of the agreement. Ironically, China indicated that is was open to discuss emissions reductions under Kytoto.

A spokesman for China's foreign ministry told reporters that the decision was "regrettable and flies in the face of the efforts of the international community." A spokesman for France's foreign ministry called the move "bad news for the fight against climate change."

The Green Party's Elizabeth May questioned the legality of the move and called the timing of the decision "perverse."

As reported in the Calgary Herald, the government of Alberta applauded the decision saying "Kyoto didn't work for Alberta, it didn't work for Canada without all the large emitters at the table."

This move was predictable given that Canada was not able to meet its emissions target due in large part to the emissions from the large scale exploitation of the tar sands, which now account for roughly seven per cent of Canada's total greenhouse gases.

Matt Horne, director of the climate change program at Pembina Institute said "I can't see it being anything but a big black eye for Canada," Horne said. As a result, he said, the current Conservative government now faces "radical and irresponsible" choices if it is to avoid the $14 billion in international penalties he said it must pay for failing to meet those targets as a signatory to the accord.

Like the Republicans in the US, Canadian Conservatives use misinformation and fearmongering to sell their irresponsible governance.

NDP environment critic Megan Leslie said the Canadian Environment Minister was not telling the truth when he warned of billions of dollars in international penalties. She said the decision to abandon Kyoto will have "long-term implications" on Canada's international reputation.

Greenpeace Canada spokesman Mike Hudema said in a written statement the Harper government "has imposed a death sentence on many of the world's most vulnerable populations by pulling out of Kyoto."

He said the move "destabilizes" the promise of future action on global warming. "This is a further signal that the Harper government is more concerned about protecting polluters than people."

© 2011, Richard Matthews. All rights reserved.

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