THE WORLD FROM BERLIN
'Canada Should Be Shunned for Kyoto Ignorance'
Canada is under fire for exiting the Kyoto Protocol just one day after UN climate talks ended with an agreement to extend the treaty. Putting financial interests ahead of environmental commitments is an affront to global climate protection efforts, German papers write on Wednesday.
Conservative daily Die Welt writes:
"Canada has become the first country to leave the Kyoto Protocol, just two days after the end of the world climate conference in South Africa. Japan and Russia want to follow. ... If it stands for anything, Durban means the complete failure of climate-protection measures at the United Nations level."
"The extension of the Kyoto Protocol is being sold as a success in Durban. But the heart of the 1997 Kyoto Protocol was the commitment to targeted greenhouse gas reductions for big industrial countries. The 'extension' of the protocol in Durban happened without requiring any new emission limits. Just how much value the protocol extension will have is a question no one can answer â€¦ That's why it is no wonder that Canada announced its exit from the Kyoto Protocol shortly after Durban. Japan and Russia also have good reasons for considering this step too. After all, the Kyoto Protocol was an agreement that only imposed responsibilities on industrialized countries. But in light of the rapidly growing importance of the large developing and emerging countries and their emissions, the protocol has been outlived. â€¦ Global climate protection may be clinically dead, but the Kyoto Protocol goes on like a zombie."
The center-right daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung writes:
"The decision made by the Canadian government to pull out of the Kyoto Protocol â€¦ represents a victory of reason. It shows that protecting the environment produces costs that, given concern over jobs, not everyone is willing to pay, particularly when important countries refuse to be pressured into joining environmental-protection treaties. The government in Ottawa thus deserves our praise. They have clearly shown that the Kyoto emperor is not wearing any clothes ... Canada has revealed the farce behind the international agreement, which was more of an informal arrangement than a treaty with teeth."
The left-leaning Berliner Zeitung writes:
"The reason for Canada's exit is obvious. The country clearly missed its CO2 targets for the upcoming 2012 tally of the first Kyoto period. Instead of 6 percent reduction, emissions increased by some 30 percent -- a major blow to the country's image. The country would probably be slapped with fines or additional CO2 reductions requirements. The main reason for the debacle lies with Canada's energy policy. The oil industry is making more use of oil sands, which is environmentally costly. The country has also failed to fulfil its CO2 savings potential. Still, Canada wholeheartedly supports the global climate protocol set to begin in 2020. But how serious can this be?"
Left-leaning daily Die Tageszeitung writes:
"Canada doesn't want to play by the rules any longer. It's no banana republic, no failed state and no dictatorship in a developing nation. It's an industrial country rich in earnings, natural resources and influence. And one that, despite all this, has undercut the foundation of diplomacy and global trade -- that is, the security that internationally binding treaties are supposed to guarantee."
"It would be a fatal signal to allow Canada to get away with this. Because why should anyone adhere to a treaty when they can agree upon it with fanfare only to simply give up later? Above all it must be the Europeans who defend their basic principles, putting themselves in conflict with a trans-Atlantic partner once again. A ban on dirty Canadian oil from tar sands is one answer, while another could be general punitive tariffs for those who don't take part in climate-protection measures."
The Financial Times Deutschland writes:
"Canada has a reputation as the country of giant forests, clean air, clear lakes and rivers where salmon happily leap -- a unique environmental idyll. The exact opposite is true. The conservative government of Prime Minister Stephen Harper is pulling out of the Kyoto Protocol. In doing so, Canada is not only showing disdain for global climate-protection efforts, but is also undermining what to date has been the only binding climate agreement. The affront against all the states and organizations that are serious about reducing greenhouse gas emissions could hardly be any greater."
"The country should be shunned because of its ignorant stance. Europe and all the other countries that want serious climate-protection measures must put Canada on the spot. â€¦ If Canada manages to get away with it without large protests, then all the international climate-protection efforts will be threatened."
"Canada has shown once again just how often countries put their individual economic interests first, and just how casually environmental protection continues to be sacrificed."