The previous ruling government had initially signed onto the treaty, but Harper's Environment minister Peter Kent said that the Kyoto treaty as it's structured did nothing to address pollution from growing economies such as Brazil and China while putting an onerous economic burden on Canada if it were to comply with Kyoto.
Kent's announcement comes a day after marathon climate talks wrapped up in the South African port city of Durban.Among the proposals floated around the Durban conference was a punitive 'climate tax' on American goods exported and the establishment of an international 'climate court' designed to redistribute wealth from industrialized nations to developing countries.
Canada faced international criticism at the recent climate talks in South Africa amid reports it would pull out of Kyoto.
Harper's Conservative government is reluctant to hurt Canada's booming oil sands sector, which is the country's fastest growing source of greenhouse gases and a reason it has reneged on its Kyoto commitments.
Canada has the world's third largest oil reserves, more than 170 billion barrels. Daily production of 1.5 million barrels from the oil sands is expected to increase to 3.7 million in 2025. Only Saudi Arabia and Venezuela have more reserves. But critics say the enormous amount of energy and water needed in the extraction process increases greenhouse gas emissions.