On December 15, 2011, the Government of Canada officially notified the UNFCCC that Canada would exercise its legal right to formally withdraw from the Kyoto Protocol. To fulfill its obligations under the Protocol, Canada would have had to purchase a significant and costly amount of international credits using funds that could be invested here, in Canada, on domestic priorities, including the environment.
From an environmental perspective, the Kyoto Protocol has not served the international community well in meeting the real challenges of global climate change or effectively engaging all major economies. The Protocol only covers countries responsible for a small, and increasingly smaller, percentage of global emissions and, as a consequence, is not an effective vehicle for addressing the global challenge of climate change. Importantly for Canada, the United States, which is Canada’s biggest economic trading partner and is responsible for nearly 20% of global emissions, is not covered by the Kyoto Protocol.
These issues have led Canada to focus its efforts on the development of a fairer and more comprehensive global agreement based on the Copenhagen Accord, the Cancun Agreements and the Durban Platform. This includes implementing domestic measures toward achieving Canada’s GHG emissions reduction commitments.