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Canada Exits Kyoto Climate Agreement

Canada is withdrawing from the 1997 Kyoto Protocol agreement on climate change, with Environment Minister Peter Kent arguing that the framework doesn't represent the way forward for Canada or the world.

Kent is quoted by the AP as saying:

"The Kyoto Protocol does not cover the world's largest two emitters, United States and China, and therefore cannot work. It's now clear that Kyoto is not the path forward to a global solution to climate change. If anything it's an impediment."

The CBC notes that Canada was not in compliance with Kyoto, pushing the country's Conservative government to renounce an agreement made by the previous Liberal administration:

"The Kyoto Protocol, which expires next year, committed 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. Canada ratified the accord in 1997 but was not on track to meet its legally binding targets."

The move will save Canada an estimated $14 billion in penalties related to the country's failure to meet its Kyoto targets, according to Kent.

Canada's departure from Kyoto arrived just after United Nations-sponsored climate talks wrapped up in Durban, South Africa, as the Ottawa Citizen reports:

"Over the weekend, the 195 members of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change finished a record-breaking, marathon session two days behind schedule in Durban, and charted a course toward a new regime to be finalized by 2015 in an effort to stave off dangerous human interference with the atmosphere."

"The framework agreement salvaged the Kyoto Protocol, but it became clear that it would not include Canada's participation."

According to the AP, however, Kent did say that the Durban agreement — which envisions a new treaty with binding targets for all countries to take effect in 2020 — does represent a way forward.

Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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