Jeremy van Loon
December 3, 2011
Canada, the country furthest from meeting its commitment to cut carbon emissions under the Kyoto Protocol, may save as much as $6.7 billion by exiting the global climate change agreement and not paying for offset credits.
The country’s greenhouse-gas emissions are almost a third higher than 1990 levels, and it has a 6 percent CO2 reduction target for the end of 2012. If it couldn’t meet its goal, Canada would have to buy carbon credits, under the rules of the legally binding treaty.
Canada, which has the world’s third-largest proven oil reserves, would be the first of 191 signatories to the Kyoto Protocol to annul its emission-reduction obligations. While Environment Minister Peter Kent declined to confirm Nov. 28 that Canada is preparing to pull out of Kyoto, which may ease the burden for oil-sands producers and coal-burning utilities, he said the government wouldn’t make further commitments to it.
Canadian delegates, including Kent, are in Durban, South Africa for United Nations climate talks. Negotiators are struggling to agree to a successor to Kyoto, which expires at the end of 2012 and is also opposed by Japan and Russia.