Peter Kent versus the world

The Environment Minister spreads the good word.

Environment Minister Peter Kent repeated his sharp criticism of Kyoto at a high-level session of the Durban talks. “Kyoto, for Canada, is in the past,” Mr. Kent told a large audience of delegates and climate negotiators on Wednesday. “For Canada, the Kyoto Protocol is not where the solution lies,” he said. “It is an agreement that covers fewer than 30 per cent of global emissions.”

As he spoke, six Canadian activists stood up and silently protested by turning their backs on him, wearing T-shirts that said: “Turn your back on Canada.” Security guards quickly rushed over and escorted them away, leading them through a narrow corridor at the back of the room and then evicting them from the conference. But the protesters won louder applause than Mr. Kent, whose speech was greeted by a smattering of polite applause from delegates.

Earlier this week, Mr. Kent promised the Harper government wouldn’t withdraw from Kyoto during the Durban conference, but wouldn’t comment on what might happen after the talks. Officials from Brazil, Germany, India and South Africa are unimpressed.

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