Canada Withdraws From Kyoto Protocol
Canada will not sign on for another 5-year term in the Kyoto Protocol
Speaking in a teleconference, Canadian Environment Minister Peter Kent announced that Canada would not be signing onto the Kyoto Protocol for another five-year term. Kent argues that Canada contributing to the Kyoto Protocol is useless unless other big polluters like the United States, China and India reduce their emissions and the damage to the economy is too high.
Canada's history in the Kyoto Protocol
The Kyoto Protocol was an agreement by 191 countries (which included Canada) to cut down carbon emissions. Canada signed into the Kyoto Protocol under Jean Chretien's Liberal government in 1998 but took little action to meet the required cuts in greenhouse gas emissions; Prime Minister Harper's Conservative government since their rise in 2006 has all but ignored the protocol. Now with the end of the five-year pledge coming up, the Canadian government is withdrawing their pledge to the Kyoto Protocol.
Conservative criticism of the Kyoto Protocol
The largest criticism of the Kyoto Protocol is that nations which provide more greenhouse emissions than Canada such as the United States, China and India are not even part of the Kyoto Protocol. The Conservatives argue that an agreement that doesn't include the large polluters is pointless and only damages Canada's economy. Canada is one of the countries which is asking for a new agreement other than the Kyoto Protocol which includes all of the larger polluters as well.
"Canada goes to Durban with a number of countries sharing the same objective, and that is to put Kyoto behind us," Kent said on Nov. 22.
Criticism of Canada's withdrawl
Kent's announcement has drawn the criticism from both inside Canada and out. Opposition party leaders Megan Leslie from the NDP and Elizabeth May from the Green party have expressed their disappointment in the decision and are asking for it to be reversed now while it can.
May told CTV's Canada AM that the Conservatives should remain in Kyoto and work to improve the agreement if they truly cared about the environment.
"If the goal is to have a global binding treaty to reduce emissions that includes all countries, the mechanism to do that lies in the continuation of the Kyoto Protocol. Kyoto is necessary," she said.
"We will not obstruct those who want to take a second commitment of Kyoto," Kent told a news conference Tuesday in Montreal.
"Those who wish to continue with Kyoto can continue with a second commitment to Kyoto. We are going to argue in favour of a new agreement, which will eclipse Kyoto."