IN THE NEWS ~ Kent says 'Kyoto is the past' but refuses to confirm Canada's withdrawal / Ottawa serait sur le point de se retirer du Protocole de Kyoto


Published | Publié: 2011-11-29
Received | Reçu: 2011-11-29 5:14 AM

Kent says 'Kyoto is the past' but refuses to confirm Canada's withdrawal

   By Stephanie Levitz

   THE CANADIAN PRESS (duplicates in Thunder Bay Chronicle,

   OTTAWA - Ripping up the Kyoto Accord may ready Canada for a bruising at international climate talks in South Africa this week but allows it to avoid a black eye down the road, observers said Monday.

   Environment Minister Peter Kent refused to confirm or deny reports Canada is walking away from the 1997 agreement that bound 37 industrial countries to limit carbon emissions over a five-year period.

   With those commitments expiring next year, the Durban talks centre on finding a new international agreement on combating climate change.

   Many environmental groups, developing countries and the European Union want the negotiations to lead to a new version of Kyoto.

   Canada, Japan and Russia aren't on board, angling instead for a new deal to bring all emitting countries under the same set of rules, including emerging economies such as China, India and Brazil.

   "Kyoto is in the past," Kent said Monday.

   But if the Conservative government didn't formally pull out of the agreement now, Canada would be haunted by that past.

   After the expiration of the five-year targets, all countries that are party to the protocol will be assessed for how well they fared in a pledge to reduce emissions by six per cent below 1990 levels.

   "There would be a public finding, an official finding to the effect that Canada has not met its international commitment," said Jutta Brunnee, a law professor at the University of Toronto.

   "And that I think is what the government is wanting to avoid."

   After being elected in 2006, the Harper government stated it had no intention of complying with Kyoto, arguing it was too ambitious and not applied fairly.

   Canada has since set its own target of cutting emissions by 17 per cent by 2020 over 2005 levels.

   CTV reported that Canada had set Dec. 23 as the date it will announce it's pulling out of Kyoto for good.

   The withdrawal would also be a finale to a frenzied fall session for the Conservatives, who've sought to fast-track a number of bills, including controversial measures such as the end of the wheat board and several crime bills, in order to have a clean slate in the new year.

   Canada would be considered officially out of the treaty a year later, mere days before the five-year deadline for compliance in December 2012.

   "Basically it would get them off of the hook with minimal consequence given that they failed to meet targets during the first commitment period," said Hannah McKinnon of Climate Action Network Canada.

   "The Canadian government is looking for every escape possible to avoid the consequences of inaction in the face of dangerous climate change and to ensure they can expand the tar sands as projected," she added.

   Canada's withdrawal would likely have little effect on the Durban negotiations, said Alden Meyer of the Washington-based Union of Concerned Scientists.

   But Meyer said a withdrawal would allow Canada to continue to be a negotiator on the future of the protocol "watering down the treaty and wrecking the job of the rest of us."

   Doubts about the Kyoto deal were one reason the EU was conditioning its acceptance of new commitments on an agreement in Durban from China, India and other major emitting countries that they will adopt legally binding commitments by 2015.

   Brunnee said Canada should have pulled out of Kyoto sooner.

   "The reason they haven't so far, it was politically sensitive and it would have been not a popular move to get out of Kyoto," she said.

   "Now I think that's easier because it looks as if there's not going to be an immediate Kyoto successor and everyone is looking for a slightly different approach. It's politically much easier to get out."

   Kent was pressed by reporters several times earlier Monday as to whether the government was in fact staying in Kyoto. He refused to answer. He was also asked why he couldn't answer.

   "This isn't the day. This is not the time to make an announcement," he told a news conference called to extend funding to the government's clean-air regulatory agenda.

   The government had set aside $252 million over two years in the 2011 budget for the agenda and announced Monday it's adding more money and time to bring the commitment to $600.8 million over five years. Refusing to say whether or not Canada will remain in Kyoto means Canada is in South Africa in bad faith, the opposition charged.

   "The presence of the environment minister in Durban is a total charade," said NDP MP (Official Opposition Finance Critic) Peter Julian.

   "He is going to go there, he is going to filibuster, he is going to act like an environmental vandal."

   Liberal Leader Bob Rae said whether or not Kyoto was worth extending was beside the point.

   "It's that the way we do business with other countries is to be up front and honest and straightforward and I don't find that the government's meeting this standard by saying we're not going to announce anything until the 23rd," he said.

   - with files from The Associated Press

   Update:RECASTS, ADDs quotes, details, background, byline

Published | Publié: 2011-11-28
Received | Reçu: 2011-11-29 5:07 AM

Ottawa serait sur le point de se retirer du Protocole de Kyoto


   - Le Canadaet le Protocole de Kyoto : à venir dans 60 secondes, Ottawa est-il sur le point de se retirer de l'accord sur les gaz à effet de serre? -

   Cela s'est passé en décembre 2002, le Canada ratifiait officiellement le Protocole de Kyoto sur la réduction des gaz à effet de serre. Presque 10 ans ont passé, et on constate que les choses ont bien changé, au point où on se demande maintenant si le pays n'est pas sur le point de se retirer de l'accord. Peu avant son départ pour Durban, en Afrique du Sud, où s'est ouverte une conférence de l'ONU sur le climat, le ministre de l'Environnement, Peter Kent, n'a pas voulu confirmer ou démentir la rumeur. Voyons d'abord les précisions de Daniel Thibeault.


   Ils sont ici pour dénoncer l'inaction du Canada dans la lutte contre les changements climatiques. Une manifestation, peut-être aussi une vigile, alors qu'Ottawa serait sur le point de rompre avec Kyoto. Le ministre de l'Environnement ne veut pas commenter la rumeur que le Canada annoncerait son retrait de l'accord le 23 décembre. "Ce n'est pas le moment", dit Peter Kent. De quoi laisser libre cours aux critiques de l'opposition.


   Les conservateurs préfèrent jouer tous seuls dans leur carré de sable bitumineux.

   PETER JULIAN (DÉPUTÉ, NPD, BURNABY - NEW WESTMINSTER, COLOMBIE-BRITANNIQUE, Porte-parole de l'Opposition officielle en matière des finances)

   C'est irresponsable au "boutte"!


   Surtout, dit-il, alors que le ministre s'en va représenter le Canada à Durban, en Afrique du Sud, participer à la conférence de l'ONU sur le climat, esquisser la prochaine étape du Protocole de Kyoto. Déjà une chose est claire, dit Peter Kent: "L'avenir, ce n'est plus Kyoto mais une nouvelle entente internationale, dit-il, pas nécessairement contraignante, et qui toucherait tous les pays émetteurs, industrialisés, comme émergents."


   Ça ne me surprend pas. Ça fait longtemps que c'est clair que le gouvernement conservateur s'en fout pas mal des changements climatiqueset s'en fout du Protocole de Kyoto. Par contre, ça fait cinq ans maintenant qu'on est en train de négocier la deuxième phase du Protocole de Kyoto.


   Les libéraux s'insurgent, réclament plus de transparence du gouvernement conservateur, surtout au sujet d'une entente qui a reçu l'approbation du Parlement et du Sénat.


   Il y a une malhonnêteté de la part du gouvernement du Canadade dire qu'on a une stratégie, mais la stratégie, on va l'annoncer juste avant Noël.


   Le gouvernement refuse de confirmer ses intentions. Mais selon le haut commissaire pour l'Afrique du Sud à Ottawa, non seulement la rumeur circule depuis déjà plusieurs semaines, mais le Canada aurait aussi tenté de convaincre d'autres pays signataires du traité de faire comme lui. Daniel Thibeault, Radio-Canada, Ottawa.


Published | Publié: 2011-11-29
Received | Reçu: 2011-11-29 1:49 AM
NEWS, Page: A3

Kent won't confirm pullout from Kyoto

Treaty 'is the past,' environment minister says

David Ljunggren And Mike De Souza, Ottawa Citizen

   Environment Minister Peter Kent dismissed the Kyoto Protocol on climate change on Monday as a thing of the past, but would not confirm a report Canada will formally pull out of the 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.

   The government 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," Kent said Monday, describing the decision by the former Liberal government to sign on to the protocol as "one of the biggest blunders they made."

   The Conservatives 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 reported the government would announce its formal withdrawal from Kyoto on Dec. 23, once the Durban talks are over.

   "I'm neither confirming nor denying (that report)," said Kent, who announced Canada would spend C$600 million over five years to help improve air quality. "This isn't the day," Kent said.

   "This is not the time to make an announcement (about Kyoto) beyond the announcement on the clean-air regulatory agenda."

   Kent is scheduled to leave in the coming days to lead Canada's negotiating team at the Durban talks, which wrap up next week.

   New Democrat MP (Official Opposition Finance Critic) Peter Julian said Kent's presence at Durban would be a charade. "He's going to go there to obstruct, bury progress, derail the discussions and act like an environmental vandal," Julian told the House of Commons.

   "If it is the intention of the government of Canada to renege on a treaty that was ratified by the Parliament of Canada, why would the Government of Canada not say so now?" asked Interim Liberal leader Bob Rae.

   "Why would it not just bring it forward for debate in Parliament now? Why not do it before it goes through the charade of participating in the conference in Durban? Why such a double standard?"

   Environmental groups from around the world also slammed Kent's message, calling Canada the worst country at the Durban conference and awarding it first and second place in its infamous "fossil of the day" awards.

   "Canada is here in Durban in bad faith," said the Climate Action Network, a coalition of environmental groups.

   "Countries should be asking themselves why Canada is sitting at the Kyoto negotiating table with a secret plan to formally withdraw from the protocol mere weeks after the talks end."

   Kent had pledged to deliver a plan this year to regulate emissions from the oilsands, an industry that is expected to see its pollution rise exponentially over the next 10 years. But as was the case with his predecessors, he said the government is still holding "consultations" on the issue.

   "We're balancing the need to address our obligations under Copenhagen and Cancun, but at the same time, we're also very aware that we're not going to strand capital, we're not going to threaten jobs in any of the sectors," Kent said.

   "But we expect a collaborative effort from all of the emitting sectors, from the provinces, the territories, our partners, the stakeholders to work to bring those emissions down."

   Kyoto obliged Canada to cut emissions to six per cent below 1990 levels by 2012.

   In 2009, Canada emitted 690 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent, 17 per cent above 1990 levels, largely because of an increase in oil extraction from the oilsands.

   The Conservatives subsequently adopted less ambitious targets and now say Canada will cut greenhouse gas emissions by 17 per cent below 2005 levels by 2020.

   "We need a new agreement, a post-Kyoto agreement, that includes all of the major emitting countries, whether they be developed countries or developing countries," said Kent.

   David Ljunggren writes for Reuters. Mike de Souza writes for Postmedia News