* Environment minister say joining Kyoto was big blunder
* Official says treaty without China, U.S. will not work
DURBAN/OTTAWA, Nov 28 - The Canadian government dismissed the Kyoto Protocol on climate change as a thing of the past on Monday, but declined to confirm a media report that Canada will formally withdraw from the protocol before the end of this year.
“Kyoto is the past,” Environment Minister Peter Kent told reporters in Ottawa, describing the decision by Canada’s previous Liberal government to sign up for the protocol as “one of the biggest blunders they made”.
Andrew MacDougall, a spokesman for Prime Minister Stephen Harper declined to comment on Canada’s plans, but said a protocol that doesn’t include major greenhouse gas emitters China and the United States “will not work.”
“Canada will not sign on to a new agreement that does not include all major emitters,” he said.
In an unsourced report, CTV News said on Sunday that the government would announce its formal withdrawal from Kyoto just a few days before Christmas and after the end of a major conference in Durban, South Africa, that aims to try to salvage the Kyoto treaty.
Canada’s Conservative government, in power since 2006, has repeatedly made clear that it will not be able to meet Kyoto targets that would cut emissions to 6 percent below 1990 levels in the 2008-2012 period.
In 2009, Canada emitted 690 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent, 17 percent above 1990 levels, largely because of an increase in oil extraction from Alberta.
“We remain committed to reducing Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions by 17% below 2005 levels by 2020, and we are making good progress,” MacDougall said. (Reporting by David Ljunggren in Ottawa and Stian Reklev with Point Carbon in Durban, writing by Janet Guttsman; editing by Peter Galloway)