Implications of Canada’s potential withdrawal from the Kyoto Protocol before the end of the First Commitment Period

Briefing paper

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Date produced: 08/12/2011

This briefing paper analyses the process and legality of Canada’s alleged pending withdrawal from the Kyoto Protocol (“KP” or the “Protocol”) prior to the end of the first commitment period on 31 December 2012. After summarising the process which Canada would have to follow to withdraw from the KP, this briefing paper examines the limited recourse available to international bodies and the parties to the KP to preserve Canada’s status as a party, the legal implications of Canada’s withdrawal, as well as the possibility of assessing Canada’s compliance with its emission reduction targets on a pro-rata basis. This paper has not addressed the issue of Canada’s international responsibility in relation to their withdrawal from the KP.