Mon, May 22, 2006 - Page 6 News List

Canada to oppose stricter emissions controls targets

AFP , OTTAWA

Canada will try to block a bid to set stricter emissions targets in the Kyoto Protocol's second phase from 2012 and eventually wants the accord scrapped in favor of a voluntary deal, reports said on Saturday.

The report in the Globe and Mail sparked outrage among environmental activists and opposition Liberals, who accused the Conservative government of trying to undermine years of international effort to counter global warming.

The newspaper said it had obtained private Foreign Affairs Department instructions to Canadian negotiators in Bonn, Germany, where an international 10-day meeting opened this week to plot the second phase of the Kyoto Protocol.

"The private instructions from the Foreign Affairs Department to the Canadian delegation show Canada will also oppose the widely held view that targets in the second phase, which begins after 2012, should be tougher than those in the first phase," the newspaper said.

According to instructions quoted by the paper, the government advised negotiators: "Canada will not support agreement on language in the work program that commits developed countries to more stringent targets in the future."

The 22 pages of instructions "also show that Canada wants the climate-change accord phased out in favor of a separate, voluntary deal," the daily wrote.

The document reveals that Ottawa was threatening to pull out of the UN climate-change process unless it includes the US and all other major polluters.

Canada, which has ratified the Kyoto pact, "does not support a continuation of the status quo beyond 2012, and has no preconceived view on how a new commitment period might be structured," it said.

Canada is serving as the chair of the Bonn conference that opened last Monday and will close on Thursday.

It was one of the first countries to sign the Kyoto Protocol, and environmental advocates say Ottawa has played an important leadership role on the issue.

Environmental groups de-manded that Canada immediately step down as the chair of the conference on the future of the Kyoto accord.

"This government has neither the credibility nor the right to preside over negotiations on an accord that it wants to see dead," said Steven Guilbeault, director of Greenpeace Quebec in Montreal.

The opposition Liberals called for the government to recall Canada's delegation in Bonn and for the resignation of Environment Minister Rona Ambrose "because of her covert attempts to sabotage the development of a binding international consensus on global warming," Scott Brison of the Liberal party said in a statement.

Brison accused the newly-elected Conservative government of distorting the accord and using "anti-Kyoto tactics" employed by US President George W. Bush.

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