|English.news.cn 2011-12-14 01:55:15|
UNITED NATIONS, Dec. 13 (Xinhua) -- The decision announced on Monday by Canada to pull out of the Kyoto Protocol, the world's only legally-binding climate change pact, was not a shock, the spokesperson for the UN Environment Program (UNEP) Nick Nuttall said here on Tuesday.
"Canada's decision comes as no surprise," he told Xinhua in an email. "The government has signaled this intention several times."
The Kyoto Protocol commits major industrial economies to reducing their annual CO2 emissions to below 1990 levels, while providing financial supports to developing nations to encourage them to follow suit eventually. However, the U.S., a major industrial emitter, has never ratified the protocol.
At the recently concluded 17th Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP-17) in Durban, South Africa, a second commitment period of the protocol was agreed upon. Countries also resolved to negotiate a new climate deal to come into effect no later than 2020.
"In Durban, governments across the world agreed to negotiate towards a new and more inclusive international treaty which perhaps could provide Canada with an opportunity to return to the urgent international efforts to combat climate change which ultimately must be in all nations' interests," said Nuttall. "Only time will tell."
In his announcement of Canada's decision to pull out of the international pact, Peter Kent, Canadian environment minister, said that the move will save Canada an estimated 14 billion Canadian dollars in penalties incurred from failing to meet targets set by Kyoto.
He added that given the current economic situation, Canada has no other choice.
Canada and the United States, which did not sign the Kyoto pact, have criticized the accord for leaving out some of the world's largest emitters.
The Canadian withdrawal came just a day after 194 nations, including Canada itself, agreed in Durban to engage in talks for a new international climate deal, which would come into effect no later than 2020.