Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Why would Canada withdraw from Kyoto before the end of the year?

Timing is everything, they say.

If the timing of this rumoured decision by the Canadian government to officially withdraw from the Kyoto Protocol near the end of December - rather than to remain a part of Kyoto and just continue ignoring the provisions - strikes you as curious, I strongly recommend reading Andrew Leach's post on the subject. He points out Article 27 of the Kyoto Protocol (bold is mine).

1. At any time after three years from the date on which this Protocol has entered into force for a Party, that Party may withdraw from this Protocol by giving written notification to the Depositary.
2. Any such withdrawal shall take effect upon expiry of one year from the date of receipt by the Depositary of the notification of withdrawal, or on such later date as may be specified in the notification of withdrawal.

It's been suggested that Canada will withdraw to avoid "non-compliance". The 2008 - 2012 Kyoto compliance period officially ends on December 31, 2012. After that, the math will be done to determine whether each country met their emissions targets.

If Canada withdraws before December 31, 2011 then Canada's withdrawal will be official before the compliance period ends, and Canada will, to be a scientist and use a double negative, not be considered in non-compliance. In other words, the Canadian government just a few weeks to play its get out of jail free card.

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