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Canada Will Not Commit to Kyoto Protocol’s Second Phase

Environment Minister Peter Kent is currently at a climate change conference in South Africa. He is marking the occasion by announcing that Canada will not renew its commitment to the Kyoto Protocol—an agreement among industrialized nations to reduce greenhouse gas emissions—by the end of 2012. (The current version of the Kyoto Protocol expires at that time; the goal of the conference underway in South Africa is to negotiate the details of the next five year commitment period.)

The Kyoto Protocol was adopted in 1997; Canada signed on in 1998. Canadian governments have been largely ignoring the emissions targets it laid out ever since, but none has gone so far as to reject the very ideas contained in the agreement. The Tories contend that implementing the measures that would be required to reduce greenhouse gases would damage the economy, and are instead advocating for a new agreement that would bind all nations, not just the industrialized ones who signed onto Kyoto.

Clarification: December 5, 1:50 PM This post originally indicated that Canada would “pull out” of the Kyoto Protocol and linked to a Canadian Press story that used the same wording. In fact, Peter Kent announced that Canada will not sign onto the second phase of the Protocol; the current phase ends in 2012.