Kyoto Protocol loses four big nations

From Agence France-Presse, May 29, 2011

DEAUVILLE, France: Russia, Japan and Canada told the G8 they would not join a second round of carbon cuts under the Kyoto Protocol at United Nations talks this year and the US reiterated it would remain outside the treaty, European diplomats have said.

The future of the Kyoto Protocol has become central to efforts to negotiate reductions of carbon emissions under the UN’s Framework Convention on Climate Change, whose annual meeting will take place in Durban, South Africa, from November 28 to December 9.

Developed countries signed the Kyoto Protocol in 1997. They agreed to legally binding commitments on curbing greenhouse gas emissions blamed for global warming.

Those pledges expire at the end of next year. Developing countries say a second round is essential to secure global agreements.

But the leaders of Russian, Japan and Canada confirmed they would not join a new Kyoto agreement, the diplomats said.

They argued that the Kyoto format did not require developing countries, including China, the world’s No. 1 carbon emitter, to make targeted emission cuts.

At last Thursday’s G8 dinner the US President, Barack Obama, confirmed Washington would not join an updated Kyoto Protocol, the diplomats said.

The US, the second-largest carbon emitter, signed the protocol in 1997 but in 2001 the then president, George W. Bush, said he would not put it to the Senate for ratification.

[The fight against Kyoto began with the US Senate, which passed the Byrd-Hagel Resolution in 1997. The resolution stated that the US would not be a signatory to any agreement that would “result in serious harm to the economy of the United States.” Byrd-Hagel passed by a vote of 95-0.  GT]

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