Canada won't confirm it's pulling out of Kyoto

Mon Nov 28, 2011 5:28pm EST
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By David Ljunggren

OTTAWA (Reuters) - Canada dismissed the Kyoto Protocol on climate change on Monday as a thing of the past, but declined to confirm a media report it will formally pull out of the international treaty before the end of this year.

Although the Conservative government walked away from its Kyoto obligations years ago, a formal withdrawal would deal a symbolic blow to global talks to save the agreement, which opened in Durban, South Africa on Monday.

Canada says it backs a new global deal to cut emissions of greenhouse gases, but insists it has to cover all nations, including China and India, which are not bound by Kyoto's current targets.

Although Japan and Russia share Canada's view, and the United States never ratified Kyoto, no nation has yet formally renounced the treaty.

"Kyoto is the past," Environment Minister Peter Kent told reporters in Ottawa, describing the decision by Canada's previous Liberal government to sign on to the protocol as "one of the biggest blunders they made."

The Conservatives - who green groups say are recklessly pushing development of the Alberta oil sands and ignoring the environment - complain the Liberals signed Kyoto and then did nothing to stop the country's emissions from soaring.

"What we know is that we cannot comply with it ... that's a fact," Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver told reporters.

CTV News said Ottawa would announce its formal withdrawal from Kyoto on December 23, once the Durban talks are over.   Continued...