A few days ago the climate summit taking place in Durban, South Africa ended. Delegates agreed to extend the Kyoto Protocol and establish a binding agreement by 2015. The Kyoto Protocol is set to expire in 2012 and will be extended another five years under the new agreement. The binding agreement to be agreed upon by the year 2015 is expected to be in place by 2020.
However, not all nations will be involved in the extension of the Kyoto Protocol. Neither the United States or China are impacted by the Kyoto Protocol as they did not sign it in 1997. The lack of participation and legally binding emission goals by two of the world’s largest polluters has many countries concerned. In fact, it is one of the reasons given by Canada as why they are exiting the Kyoto agreement altogether.
Canada announced years ago that they would likely be exiting the Kyoto Protocol and now they have made it official during the climate summit. Canada does not believe it is the best route for the country to take, especially considering the cost. According to Canada, meeting the goals of the Kyoto Protocol would cost the nation $13.6 billion, which is $1,600 per Canadian. It was also noted by Canada that because of the lack of participation by the U.S. and China the global emissions would drastically rise without them under the Kyoto Protocol.
Canada’s minister of the environment, Peter Kent, stated that the agreement “does not represent a way forward. […] We believe that a new agreement that will allow us to generate jobs and economic growth represents the way forward.” However, Canada plans to be involved in the talks for the new agreement to be signed by 2015 and will likely participate.
While Canada is confident in their choice to exit the Kyoto Protocol agreement, many nations are upset that the country has removed itself from previous obligation. Also of concern is the fact that Canada’s emissions have increased by a third since 1990. Nations such as China, Japan, France, India and small island nations such as Tuvalu have spoken out against Canada leaving.
France believes it is “bad news for the fight against climate change,” while China has expressed that it is “regrettable and flies in the face of the efforts of the international community.” As for Tuvalu, a nation which is at great risk of sea level rises and other climate changes, they expressed outrage at the withdrawal. Lead negotiator at the climate summit for Tuvalu, Ian Fry, stated: “For a vulnerable country like Tuvalu, it’s an act of sabotage on our future. Withdrawing from the Kyoto Protocol is a reckless and totally irresponsible act.”