China and India lead condemnation of Canada’s Kyoto withdrawal
By Campbell Clark
The countries that Canada pegged as the barriers to a better climate-change deal are leading international criticism over the Harper government’s move to withdraw from the Kyoto accord.
China’s official news agency, Xinhua, blasted the decision as “preposterous” and “irresponsible” action that will scar global climate-change efforts. An Indian official said the move would jeopardize any gains that might flow from weekend talks in Durban, South Africa toward a new agreement.
They were among a long list of countries who criticized Ottawa’s decision – the first official move by any country to withdraw from the 1997 Kyoto climate-change agreement – with terms ranging from “disappointing” to “reckless.”
For Beijing, it seemed a chance to return the wagging finger that Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s government had pointed in China’s direction.
Environment Minister Peter Kent had long argued that Canada would not enter any new agreement until it included binding commitments for all of the world’s largest greenhouse-gas emitters, and called on China and India to agree to binding emissions cuts.
But China accepted the principle of taking on cuts after 2020 in the Durban talks, and even India agreed to a text that said such an agreement should have “legal force.” And when Mr. Kent returned to Ottawa to immediately announce that Canada is withdrawing from the existing Kyoto accord, China spoke up.
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