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Kyoto on a slippery slide

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The United Nations climate talks yesterday struggled to overcome fissures on the future of the Kyoto Protocol which is teetering on the brink of collapse with less than a day to secure a deal.

Canada unequivocally declared Kyoto was now “in the past”, as it believed the Cancun agreements provide a sound conceptual and practical framework to advance “our collective engagement” to address climate change.

It confirmed it would not renew pledges after the landmark pact’s first roster of carbon curbs expires in 2012.

Canadian Environment minister Peter Kent said: “We have long said we will not take on a second commitment under the Kyoto Protocol.

We will not obstruct or discourage those that do, but Kyoto for Canada is in the past.” Kent’s rejection of a treaty viewed as iconic by least developed countries, hit a nerve of the distressed negotiations, which have until Friday to avoid the second split up in just less than two years.

Canada’s position came as one of the world’s biggest polluters — China — expressed hope and determination to make all required efforts to achieve an outcome that is comprehensive and balanced, enabling the full, effective and sustained implementation of the convention through long-term co-operative action.

Chinese chief negotiator, XieZhenhua, said such an outcome on the basis of equity and taking into account the principle of common, but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities, demanded a decision on establishing commitmented to the second co-operation period under the Kyoto Protocol in Durban.

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