Canada: Kyoto Protocol is history
Durban - Canada's environment minister on Wednesday declared that for his country the Kyoto Protocol "is in the past", a position touching on the trigger issue at the climate talks here.
Minister Peter Kent confirmed that Canada would not back a new round of carbon-cutting pledges under Kyoto after the first series runs out at the end of 2012.
"We have long said we will not take on a second commitment under the Kyoto Protocol. We will not obstruct or discourage those that do, but Kyoto for Canada is in the past," he said in a speech.
The talks, running through Friday, are deadlocked over the fate of Kyoto, the only global accord that specifies curbs in greenhouse gases.
Current pledges by rich countries under Kyoto expire at the end of 2012.
Several key nations beside Canada, including Japan and Russia, have said they will not renew their vows.
They say a second commitment period is senseless so long as emerging giants and the US, which has refused to ratify Kyoto, are not bound by the treaty's constraints.
"The Kyoto Protocol is not where the solution lies," Kent said.
"It is an agreement that covers fewer than 30% of global emissions, by some estimates 15% or less."
But developing countries, led by China and India, have made renewed pledges by advanced economies a redline issue that could block progress on other fronts, including a proposed mandate to forge a comprehensive climate pact by 2015.
Kent said Canada's overall approach for reducing greenhouse gases were aligned with that of the US.
Canada agreed under the Kyoto Protocol to reduce CO2 emissions to 6% below 1990 levels by 2012, but its emissions have instead increased sharply. Pulling out of Kyoto would allow Canada to avoid paying penalties for missing its targets.
Washington signed Kyoto as a framework agreement in 1997, but declared in 2001 that it would not ratify it, saying it was too costly and unfair.
The UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) gathers 194 countries under a process launched under the 1992 Rio Summit.