NEW YORK — The United Nations has expressed its regret after the Canadian government decided to withdraw from the 1997 Kyoto Protocol agreement on climate change, officials said.
“I regret that Canada has announced it will withdraw and am surprised over its timing,” Christiana Figueres, Executive Secretary of UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), said. Canadian Environment Minister Peter Kent announced the decision on Monday, saying the protocol does not represent the path forward for Canada.
“Whether or not Canada is a Party to the Kyoto Protocol, it has a legal obligation under the Convention to reduce its emissions, and a moral obligation to itself and future generations to lead in the global effort,” Figueres said. “Industrialized countries, whose emissions have risen significantly since 1990, as is the case for Canada, remain in a weaker position to call on developing countries to limit their emissions.”
Canada announced the decision just after the UN Climate Change Conference wrapped up in Durban, South Africa, on Sunday. During the weekend, the 194 parties to the UNFCCC agreed on a package of decisions, which includes a legal instrument that would apply to all members, a second commitment period for the existing Kyoto Protocol and the launch of the Green Climate Fund which will assist developing countries to fight climate change.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon welcomed the new set of decisions, saying they represent a significant agreement that will define how the international community will address climate change in the coming years.