Even as 194 countries agreed for second commitment period of Kyoto Protocol, the world’s only climate treaty, Canada became the latest nation to denounce the protocol.
The Canadian government on Monday announced that it was formally withdrawing from Kyoto Protocol, a day after an agreement to extend the protocol to 2017 was taken, first country to do so.
“I regret that Canada has announced it will withdraw and am surprised over its timing,” said United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change executive secretary Christiana Figueres.
Russia and Japan have declared their intention to withdraw but has not informed the United Nations formally.
Canada’s Environment minister Peter Kent announced the decision after returning from United Nations sponsored climate change talks in South Africa.
At the meeting, the delegated agreed for a new global emissions treaty by 2015 to be operational by 2020.
Canada said it will join the new treaty as it covers three big polluters --- India, China and United States --- to emission cuts, unlike Kyoto Protocol, in which China and India are not required to cut emissions and US had not joined.
The protocol based on the principle of common but differentiated responsibility provides for mandatory emission cuts for a group of 34 rich countries and voluntary emission control actions for developing countries such as India and China.
Canada was required to cut its carbon emissions by 6 % below the 1990 level but, instead, the emissions have increased.
In a strong statement, Figueres said Canada has a legal obligation under the UN Climate Convention to reduce its emissions, even if it withdraws from the protocol. “Industrialized countries whose emissions have risen significantly since 1990, as is the case for Canada, remain in a weaker position to call on developing countries to limit their emissions,” she said.
She asked all developed countries to meet their responsibilities under the convention and provide the adequate support to developing countries to build their own clean energy futures and adapt to climate change impacts.
The move could see other developed nations opting out of second commitment period of the protocol, thereby creating a vacuum of climate regime between 2013 and 2020, when the new climate treaty will become operational.