Canada facing Kyoto probe over greenhouse gases

Wed May 7, 2008 4:25pm EDT
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By Alister Doyle, Environment Correspondent

OSLO (Reuters) - Canada will be investigated on suspicion of violating rules for registering greenhouse gases that are the mainstay of a U.N.-led fight against global warming, official documents show.

Canada played down the news, saying it was taking quick steps to ensure it complied by the rules.

Ottawa could be suspended from rights to trade carbon dioxide if found to be in breach of the rules by the enforcement branch of the U.N.'s Kyoto Protocol. Greece was suspended last month, the first state to face such a sanction.

"On 5 May 2008 Canada was given an official notification of the decision of the enforcement branch to proceed" with a formal question over compliance with rules on registering emissions, the enforcement branch said in a statement.

The enforcement branch warned Canada last month that it risked scrutiny over alleged shortfalls in its greenhouse gas registry. It said Canada missed a January 1, 2007, reporting deadline by more than two months.

"A national registry is a computerized system used to track holdings of greenhouse gas credits, similar to the computerized accounting system of a bank," it said.

Canada's Conservative government said it had ordered a proper registry be set up and said final testing should be complete by the end of the month.

Environment Minister John Baird blamed the delay on the previous Liberal government, which was in power for almost 13 years until January 2006.   Continued...

<p>Canada's Environment Minister John Baird speaks during Question Period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa May 5, 2008. REUTERS/Chris Wattie</p>