Inside Politics

Canada's statement on Durban climate deal

Canada is welcoming an agreement that sets a course for negotiations a new treaty on cuts to carbon emission reached after days of all-night negotiations at the UN climate talks in Durban, South Africa.

Canada has drawn much criticism over the past two weeks for its stand against an extension of the Kyoto Protocol, which the Conservative government says does not include binding targets for major emitters in the developing world.

In a statement issued early Dec. 11, Environment Minister Peter Kent said Canada is "cautiously optimistic" a broad agreement can be reached by 2015, but restated opposition to the Kyoto approach. Canada is threatening to withhold contributions to the multi-billion dollar Green Climate Fund unless all major polluters commit to binding carbon emission cuts.

Here's the full statement issued by Environment Canada this morning:

DURBAN, South Africa - December 11, 2011 - Canada's Environment Minister, the Honourable Peter Kent, today issued the following closing statement at the 17th Conference of the Parties (COP17).

"Canada came to Durban in a spirit of good will and committed to constructive engagement aimed at crafting a new international climate change agreement committing all major emitters to binding reduction targets.

"In the early morning hours of Sunday, a new, broad agreement was reached by the 195 countries gathered for the COP17. The Durban Platform sets out a process to negotiate a new climate change treaty that would create binding commitments for all major emitters.

"Although these negotiations will be difficult, we are cautiously optimistic that we will reach a new agreement by 2015.

"We want to avoid another Kyoto-like pact at all costs. Kyoto was not effective and was not good for Canada. The previous government should not have ratified it.

"The Durban Platform is a fair and balanced framework for responsible and effective action of the kind provided under the Cancun Agreements, adopted at COP16 and flowing from the Copenhagen Accord.

"Canada has been clear that we would not undertake a second Kyoto commitment period. Nor will we devote scarce dollars to capitalize the new Green Climate Fund - part of the Durban agreement - until all major emitters accept legally binding reduction targets and transparent accounting of greenhouse gas inventory.

"Canada's goal is to see real reductions in global greenhouse gas emissions. That's why we are taking concrete steps domestically and why we are an active member of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

"Canada will continue to work with our international partners on fair, effective and comprehensive ways to address climate change when Qatar assumes the COP presidency in the coming year."

"As always, we will continue to act in the best interests of Canada and Canadians. And we hope countries will join us in this global effort by undertaking concrete and quantified measures to reduce emissions significantly."
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