It's official: the Conservative government is formally pulling Canada out of the Kyoto Protocol.
Making the announcement today (December 12), Environment Minister Peter Kent called the international treaty on greenhouse-gas emissions a costly "impediment" to a global solution to climate change.
"As we have said, Kyoto - for Canada - is in the past. As such, we are invoking our legal right to formally withdraw from Kyoto. This decision formalizes what we have said since 2006 that we will not implement the Kyoto Protocol," Kent said in the foyer of the House of Commons.
"We remain committed to negotiating an international climate change agreement that works. That means getting a pact that involves all the major emitters."
Environmental groups are condemning the government's move.
"The Harper government has imposed a death sentence on many of the world's most vulnerable populations by pulling out of Kyoto," Mike Hudema, Greenpeace Canada's climate and energy campaigner, said in a statement. "The decision to leave Kyoto behind destabilizes the promise of action on the climate crisis. This is a further signal that the Harper government is more concerned about protecting polluters than people."
At the recently concluded United Nations Climate Change Conference in Durban, South Africa, environmentalists gave Canada, along with the United States, a Colossal Fossil for "blocking greater progress in the talks".
"The Canadian government has made headlines and earned criticism from the international community in Durban for refusing to sign onto a second Kyoto commitment period, calling critical climate financing 'guilt payments', and bullying least developed countries into leaving the Kyoto Protocol," read the statement accompanying the sarcastic award.
The award statement also said: "Canada remains the only country in the world to have weakened its emissions targets after returning from COP 15 in Copenhagen and the only country to have signed and ratified the Kyoto protocol and then say that it has no intention of meeting its targets. The Government killed the only major federal renewable energy program in the country while plowing over 1 billion dollars a year of subsidies into the oil sector."