Canada has a moral obligation to lead efforts to control greenhouse gas emissions regardless of its commitment to the Kyoto Protocol, a U.N. official said.
Almost immediately after international climate talks wrapped up in Durban, South Africa, Canadian Environment Minister Peter Kent announced that Canada was backing out of the Kyoto Protocol.
"It's now clear Kyoto is not the path forward for a global solution to climate change," he said. "If anything, it's an impediment."
Major economies, including Canada, signed the Kyoto Protocol in 1997. It calls for a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions to less than 1990 levels and advocates financial support for developing countries.
"Whether or not Canada is a party to the Kyoto Protocol, it has a legal obligation under the convention to reduce its emissions and a moral obligation to itself and future generations to lead in the global effort," she said in a statement.
Right-wing policy center The Heartland Institute, however, claim too much emphasis was put on Western countries in regards to climate change.
"One nation alone, China, is responsible for 75 percent of the rise in global emissions this century yet remains exempt from carbon dioxide restrictions," James Taylor, a senior fellow for environment policy at the institute, said in a statement.
"Yet the United Nations and collectivist environmental activist groups lay the blame for forecast global warming squarely on Western democracies such as Canada and the United States."