Countries and environmentalist groups around the world are slamming Canada for pulling out of the Kyoto climate treaty on Monday, reports the Guardian. "Preposterous" and "an excuse to shirk responsibility," was how the withdrawal was described by China, the world's largest carbon dioxide producer. The UN climate chief was more polite but just as unhappy with the move, saying, "I regret Canada's withdrawal and am surprised over its timing." Even Japan—which doesn't plan to sign the next phase of the Kyoto treaty—called Canada's withdrawal "disappointing."
Canada defended its position, unsurprisingly, saying the new treaty would do nothing to reduce pollution and would only result in massive fines and job losses. Despite agreeing in the original 1997 treaty to reduce carbon emissions 6% by 2012, its emissions have risen 30%, and with Canada increasingly mining its western oil sands, that number will keep rising. With the new treaty's proposal to fine countries for violating its carbon targets, Canada would have had to spend $14 billion in carbon emission permits. But with big polluters such as China, the United States, Brazil, Indonesia, and India not covered by the treaty, "it is scientifically meaningless and economically farcical," wrote one observer in the National Post. (Read more Kyoto Protocol stories.)