Canada confirmed Monday at the beginning of the climate talks in Durban, South Africa the speculation about its intended withdrawal from the Kyoto Protocol signed 14 years ago. The Kyoto Protocol was created to curb global greenhouse emissions –the cause of global warming- to 5.2C below the 1990 levels between 1998 and 2012.
Canada has criticized it claiming that it gives emerging economies most notably China, Brazil and India an unfair advantage over developed nations because of targets imposed on the developed nations. It is also concerned that taking stronger actions on emissions than its main trading partner the US will hinder its economic development. The US withdrew support for the Kyoto Protocol shortly after former President George W. Bush took office in 2001. He proposed an alternative solution to reduce emissions which actually ended up with a 30% increase in emissions for the US. And now that Canada wants out, countries like China and other giant economies have begun developing cold feet on regulating emissions by Kyoto Protocol standards. On the same note, the US declined to commit to a legally binding agreement to cut emissions by 2015 stating they won’t agree until major developing nations like China do. A position that is feared by many will derail the summit.
The world heats up as the rich countries continue to play victim. According to reports by the World Meteorological Organization, this is the warmest year ever recorded. The study also shows that the level of greenhouse gases is approaching a point that will cause irreversible changes to the Earth. Part of the world especially the developing economy is already feeling the heat, literally. Average annual temperatures in Kenya and Ethiopia for example have increased by over 1C between 1960 and present day. There are more hot days, rainfall trends are chaotic and rainfall has decreased from 1980 during the “long-rains” (March to June). And given the current droughts and famine at the Horn of Africa I would attribute at least part of the cause to global warming.
The major economies should stop gambling with the planet and the lives of billions around the world in the name of saving their strength with against their trading partners. For what is point of making money and products when the planet may no longer be here let alone the people to enjoy them?