(Adds Japan reaction, Indian comment)
BEIJING, Dec 13 (Reuters) - China and Japan said on
Tuesday Canada's decision to quit the Kyoto treaty on greenhouse
gas emissions was "regrettable" and called on it to continue
abiding by its commitments on climate change.
On Monday, Canada became the first country to announce it
would withdraw from the Kyoto Protocol. Canada, a major energy
producer, has long complained that the agreement is unworkable
because it excludes many significant emitters from binding
China, the world's biggest emitter of greenhouse gases from
human activity, has long insisted the Kyoto Protocol remain a
foundation of global efforts to curb these emissions causing
At recently concluded climate change negotiations in Durban,
China won an extension of the protocol until 2017, but also
bowed to pressure to launch later talks for a new pact that
would legally oblige all the big emitters to take action.
"It is regrettable and flies in the face of the efforts of
the international community for Canada to leave the Kyoto
Protocol at a time when the Durban meeting, as everyone knows,
made important progress by securing a second phase of commitment
to the Protocol," China's Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Weimin
said at a news briefing.
"We also hope that Canada will face up to its due
responsibilities and duties, and continue abiding by its
commitments, and take a positive, constructive attitude towards
participating in international cooperation to respond to climate
China's state news agency, Xinhua, denounced Canada's
decision as "preposterous", calling it "an excuse to shirk
responsibility". It urged Canada to retract its decision so it
could help reduce global emissions.
While also describing the decision as regrettable, Japan's
environment minister Goshi Hosono urged Canada to stay with the
pact, saying the Kyoto framework included "important elements"
that could help fight climate change.
The tiny South Pacific island nation of Tuvalu, one those
most at risk from rising sea levels caused by climate change,
was more blunt.
"For a vulnerable country like Tuvalu, its an act of
sabotage on our future," Ian Fry, its lead negotiator said.
"Withdrawing from the Kyoto Protocol is a reckless and
totally irresponsible act," he said in an email to Reuters.
An official in India said Canada's decision could jeopardise
any gains made at the Durban meeting.
Under Kyoto, poorer countries including China and India,
take voluntary, non-binding steps to curb the growth of
emissions while they focus on economic development, and rich
nations must sign up to quantitative cuts in emissions.
The United States has refused to join the protocol and
argued that China and other big emerging emitters should come
under a legally binding framework that does away with the
either-or distinction between advanced and developing countries.
(Reporting by Chris Buckley and Sui-Lee Wee, Additional
reporting by Risa Maeda in TOKYO, Krittivas Mukherjee in NEW
DELHI and David Fogarty in SINGAPORE; Editing by Paul Tait)