US, Russia, Japan to nix new Kyoto Protocol: diplomats

27th May 2011, Comments 0 comments

The United States, Russia, Japan and Canada will reject a binding agreement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions at November's UN climate summit in South Africa, European diplomats said Friday.

US President Barack Obama said at a dinner of the G8 summit in Deauville on Thursday night that the US would not sign up for an updated Kyoto Protocol despite the European Union's wish for such an agreement, the diplomats said.

Signed in 1997, the Kyoto Protocol saw most developed nations agree to legally binding commitments on curbing their greenhouse gas emissions that are blamed for global warming.

Those commitments are due to expire at the end of 2012 and, if there is to be a second round of legally binding pledges, they would need to be made at the UN's next climate summit in Durban, South Africa.

The United States, the world's biggest polluter, never signed up to the Kyoto Protocol.

Russia, Canada and Japan ratified the original agreement but will not sign up to an updated protocol if the US and major emerging nations such as China do not.

Developing countries, including China, did not have to commit to cutting emissions as part of the Kyoto Protocol and most of them maintain this should remain the case.

As a result, there is an increased likelihood of the Kyoto Protocol commitments expiring with only a framework of non-legally binding pledges from most developed and developing countries to fill the void.

© 2011 AFP

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