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Pullout deals blow to Kyoto

[ 2011-12-14 16:20]     字号 [] [] []  
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Canada's official pullout from the Kyoto Protocol on Monday drew strong criticism, as the move dealt another heavy blow to the already shaky global framework on fighting climate change.

Canadian Environment Minister Peter Kent made the announcement on Monday, when some negotiators were still on their way back home after an intense final few days at the Durban climate conference, which ended on Sunday morning in South Africa.

The move by the Canadian government is "regrettable", Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Weimin said at a news briefing in Beijing.

Liu went on to say that "It flies in the face of the efforts of the international community for Canada to leave the Kyoto Protocol at a time when the Durban meeting, as everyone knows, made important progress by securing a second phase of commitment to the protocol."

The 1997 protocol sets binding carbon emission reduction targets for industrialized countries.Its first phase targets expire in 2012. Developing countries, which have historically contributed little to carbon emissions, are subject to voluntary efforts to mitigate their emissions. The United States signed but never ratified the treaty.

The Durban meeting decided a second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol would start in 2013, a success hailed by Chinese negotiators as the treaty is viewed as a cornerstone for the whole international climate regime.

Canada has become the first country to officially quit from the treaty. Kent said the move saves Canada $14 billion in penalties for not achieving its Kyoto targets.

"To meet the targets under Kyoto for 2012 would be the equivalent of either removing every car, truck, ATV, tractor, ambulance, police car and vehicle of every kind from Canadian roads or closing down the entire farming and agriculture sector and cutting heat to every home, office, hospital, factory and building in Canada," Kent said.

The Canadian government is also reluctant to hurt the country's booming oil sands sector, also a fast growing source of greenhouse gases and a reason it has walked away from its Kyoto commitments.

Under the Kyoto Protocol, Canada committed to reducing its greenhouse gas emissions to 6 percent below 1990 levels by 2012. However, its actual annual carbon emissions have increased by about one-third since 1990.

Observers said that, although a second commitment period under the Kyoto Protocol was secured at Durban, its implementation will be unavoidably weakened, as only the European countries are serious about new emission targets.

And Canada's official pullout from the treaty may only further damage the framework.

The Durban conference also decided that talks on a new global climate deal covering all countries should begin next year and end by 2015, and come into effect by 2020.

Both Russia and Japan said they will not extend their commitments under Kyoto, and New Zealand and Australia also notified that they may not join a second commitment period.


1. What is the name of the Canadian Environment Minister?

2. How much money does Canada save from pulling out of the Protocol?

3. How much has Canada's annual carbon emissions increased by since 1990?


1. Peter Kent.

2. $14 billion in penalties.

3. One-third.

(中国日报网英语点津 Rosy 编辑)

Pullout deals blow to Kyoto

About the broadcaster:

Pullout deals blow to Kyoto

Emily Cheng is an editor at China Daily. She was born in Sydney, Australia and graduated from the University of Sydney with a degree in Media, English Literature and Politics. She has worked in the media industry since starting university and this is the third time she has settled abroad - she interned with a magazine in Hong Kong 2007 and studied at the University of Leeds in 2009.