Canada will withdraw from the Kyoto Protocol

Just hours after returning from COP17 in South Africa, Peter Kent, Canada’s environment minister, announced that the country would use their legal right and become the first country to quit the Kyoto Protocol.

Kent claimed that the Kyoto protocol “will not work” when China and USA is not participating and that the global climate change agreement doesn’t “represent a way forward for Canada".

"As we said from the outset, the Kyoto Protocol did not represent the path forward for Canada", Kent said in a statement to the House of Commons.

"Before this week, the Kyoto Protocol covered less than 30% of global emissions. Now it covers less than 13% -- and that number is only shrinking. The Kyoto Protocol does not cover the world's two largest emitters - the United States and China - and therefore will not work."

The Kyoto protocol, Kent said, would force Canada to implement “radical and irresponsible action” that would result in “the loss of thousands of jobs.” Kent also expressed criticism against Canada’s obligation under the protocol to transfer about $14 billion to poorer countries to help them to mitigate and respond to the effects of climate change.

And so the conservative government in Canada ignores both the economical differences between the North and the South as well as the historical responsibility Canada has when it comes to climate change.

"The Harper government has imposed a death sentence on many of the world's most vulnerable populations by pulling out of Kyoto,"
said Greenpeace
climate and energy campaigner Mike Hudema.

But why is Canada really withdrawing from the Kyoto protocol? The Canadian government blames it on USA for not being part of the global climate treaty, saying it stops Canada from competing economically on the world market. But others say that the real reason is Canada’s climate killing tar sands.

“One of the reasons that Canada is not meeting its goals is because it has opted not to hobble oil-sands production -- in fact, the government has encouraged it. And although many sectors of its economy have drawn down emissions, the tar-sands industry has more than made up for those drops. So Canada was faced with a choice: money from tar sands or climate change. It's choosing climate change.”

Back in Europe, another conservative government led by PM David Cameron has secretly been helping Canada to push its dirty and deadly tar sands project on EU markets. Conservative governments and politicians around the world are busy trying to delay the implementation of climate policies and now even abandoning the world’s only global climate treaty. At the same time socialistic governments are trying to device the “radical” changes needed to confront the climate crisis. Such as the red and green coalition in Denmark which has set plans in motion to completely end their reliance on fossil fuels.

So what does Canada's withdrawal from the Kyoto protocol mean? Considering the fact that Canada has increased their greenhouse gas emissions with nearly 20% since 1990 they never really were a part of the Kyoto protocol anyway. So for the climate crisis it doesn’t do much difference. But future UN negotiations will certainly become even more polarized and the mistrust created will surely delay, or in worse case even sabotage, efforts to secure a global climate deal for 2020 and beyond. But one thing that is painfully clear now is that a legally binding climate deal does not guarantee countries won't ignore or walk away from their commitments.


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Simon Leufstedt
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Guest D. A. Ryan

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Its not really surprising this, the Canadians have been itching for an excuse to cut loose from Kyoto for a couple of years now. Why? The tar sands and the heavy carbon footprint they come with. The Canadians have been forced to cook the books to hide the effects that this has been having on they’re CO2 emissions and they obviously feared being found out eventually. http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/blog/2011/jun/01/canada-tar-sands-carbon-emissions Funnily enough their excuse, blaming the costs of renewables, does not jell with recent announcements for the UK. While they acknowledge that renewables are expensive, they also note the steep rises that recent and future fossil fuel rises have imposed. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-16191900 Read between the lines they seem to say that if Canada hoped to cut costs by getting out of Kyoto they are barking up the wrong tree…a tree that’s likely to be cut down with a billion of its pals to allow tar sands production to expand!

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