Canada rejects Kyoto global warming treaty to protect oil sands business

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Canada’s environment minister has said his country is pulling out of the Kyoto Protocol on climate change.

Peter Kent said Canada is invoking the legal right to withdraw and said Kyoto does not represent the way forward for Canada or the world.

Canada, joined by Japan and Russia, said last year it would not accept new Kyoto commitments, but renouncing the accord is another setback to the treaty concluded with much fanfare in 1997 in Japan to fight global warming. Canada’s previous Liberal government signed the accord but current prime minister Stephen Harper’s Conservative government never embraced it.

Mr Kent’s announcement comes a day after marathon climate talks wrapped up in the South African city of Durban where negotiators from nearly 200 countries agreed on a deal that sets the world on a path to sign a new climate treaty by 2015 to replace the Kyoto Protocol, which expires next year.

“The Kyoto Protocol does not cover the world’s largest two emitters, United States and China, and therefore cannot work,” Mr Kent said.

Canada is reluctant to harm its booming oil sands industry, the country’s fastest growing source of greenhouse gases.

Canada has the world’s third largest oil reserves, more than 170 billion barrels.