This year's UN climate change conference in Cancun, Mexico, is unlikely to yield a deal that will replace the Kyoto Protocol, which expires in 2012, Canada's negotiator says.

Guy Saint-Jacques says he hopes progress can be made on funding for developing countries and on how to monitor emissions, but the Mexican conference won't likely result in a deal.

He says it will only lay a foundation for next year's meeting in Durban, South Africa.

"Cancun can be a very important step in that direction," added Saint-Jacques.

Environmentalists don't think Canada will make a positive contribution at the Conference.

At a news conference Wednesday in Ottawa, Graham Saul, executive director of Climate Action Network Canada, said recent action by the Canadian government "does not bode well for the approach the Canadian government is taking into Cancun."

Saul cited a report released by his organization that alleged Canada actively attempted to undermine climate legislation in other countries.

Saint-Jacques bristled at the suggestion that he would not play a constructive role.

"It would be a waste of money to go there and sit on our hands," he said. "My goal and my mandate is to get a new agreement. I think all members of the team have this goal in mind and we are trying to do our best to achieve it."

The UN Climate Change Conference in Cancun begins on Nov. 29 and runs until Dec. 10.