Kyoto deal sinks on forest issue

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BONN, Germany — Canada joined Japan, Australia, the U.S. and Russia in striking what amounts to a death blow to the oft-debated Kyoto protocol to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

At meetings last week in Bonn, Germany, the five countries demanded forested nations be permitted a generous credit to offset greenhouse gas emissions. They contend growing trees act as “carbon sinks,” absorbing carbon dioxide during photosynthesis.

The Prime Minister, acknowledged after speaking with Canada’s negotiators that “Bonn will not probably have our agreement … We need more clarifications and credits.”

Japan, Australia and the U.S. will probably also withhold approval because any deal reached in Bonn is unlikely to give much credit for carbon sinks or for the sale of clean-air technology to developing countries.

The Kyoto protocol would become binding only if nations accounting for at least 55 per cent of total developed world emissions ratify. The EU pumps out 49.5 per cent of the world’s total, but without Japan, with its 8.5 per cent, that’s not enough to push it through. Japan will not ratify unless the U.S. does as well.

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