Ready to renege

Published: Saturday 15 June 2002

-- (Credit: Kumar)Canada is all set to toe the us line by rejecting the Kyoto Protocol -- a pact to arrest emissions of gases causing climate change -- unless it is given further sops towards meeting its commitments under the treaty. Canada has put forth a proposal to get credits for its exports of 'cleaner energy' such as natural gas and hydroelectricity to the us. It wants credits for reductions against its Kyoto commitments if energy exports help in reducing emissions of greenhouse gases (ghgs) in the us.

At a meeting, Canadian prime minister Jean Chretien said that the country would not ratify the treaty unless the clean energy export issue is clarified. The European Union (eu), however, strongly opposes this stand. Canada's ghg emissions have increased by 20 per cent during 1990-2000, whereas its Kyoto target is to reduce such emissions to six per cent below 1990 levels in the period 2008-2012. Clean energy exports provide a cheap way to meet the emission target. Canada's non-ratification will not prevent the protocol from entering into force, provided Russia, Japan and the eu decide to ratify. But if another major industrialised country walks out, very little can be achieved by implementing the already weakened pact. However, giving in to such demands could undermine the whole negotiations process.

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