Ottawa: Canada will not sign onto a second binding international agreement to cut greenhouse gas emissions, its environment minister said today as UN talks on the fate of the Kyoto Protocol kicked off.
"We will not make a second commitment to Kyoto," Environment Minister Peter Kent said of the only global pact that sets targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. "We
don`t need a binding convention."
He was speaking as a 12-day round of UN talks on climate change got underway in Durban, South Africa.
The UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) gathers 194 countries under a process launched under the 1992 Rio Summit.
Topping the agenda is the fate of the Kyoto Protocol, whose pledges to cut greenhouse gas emissions expire at the end of 2012.
"We are going to Durban to constructively work and to negotiate with all of the other parties to the convention to move towards a mandate to create a new international agreement, eventually binding, which would include all the major developed and developing emitters," Kent said.
"We expect the major emitters which were not a party to Kyoto -- the Chinas, the Indias, the United States -- to step forward and play their part to materially reduce greenhouse
gases," he said.
Canadian broadcaster CTV cited unnamed sources saying Ottawa plans to formally withdraw from the Kyoto Protocol next month.
Kent would neither confirm, nor deny the report. Canada agreed under the international Kyoto Protocol to reduce CO2 emissions to 6.0 per cent below 1990 levels by 2012, but emissions have instead increased.
Saying the targets agreed to by a previous administration were unattainable, Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper`s government rolled out its own series of measures aimed at curbing CO2 emissions last year, in line with US efforts.
By pulling out of the Kyoto Protocol Canada would avoid paying penalties for missing its targets.