12/13/2011 08:07 EST | Updated 02/12/2012 05:12 EST

Durban Climate Change Deal Praised By Canadian Companies

The Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers offered some praise for the Durban agreement on climate change, suggesting it's an improvement over the Kyoto accord which did not include hard targets on some of the major carbon emitters.

"In some ways Canada has been disassociating itself from Kyoto from sometime, so it certainly isn't a surprise to us that the government went ahead and exercised its legal right to withdraw from the agreement," said Tom Huffaker vice president for policy and environment with CAPP, who was in Durban during the climate change negotiations.

"From our perspective, just as it makes sense to have, in a domestic economy, all the emitters at the table, with a role to play in addressing the problem, it also makes sense to us internationally to have all the emitters at that table. And obviously Kyoto didn't have all the emitters at the table with targets," Huffaker told

While countries like China, India and Brazil were signatories to the Kyoto Accord, they weren't obliged to meet emission targets.

The proposed Durban Platform would put all countries under the same legal regime enforcing commitments to control greenhouse gases. It would take effect by 2020 at the latest.

Huffaker said that the Durban Platform "sounds positive to us," adding that "the idea that all countries would be at the table with targets makes sense."

"Obviously it's early days in the language around where we're going forward. It's not detailed and precise. However it we do get to an agreement that includes everybody and includes everybody with hard targets, I think that's pretty meaningful in terms of dealing with GHG levels globally."

Huffaker said while the issue of Canada's participation in Kyoto did come up in discussions in Durban, he said it wasn't a "dominant issue."

But he added that the issue of the oilsands did not come up at all, except from Canadian activist groups and media.

"People just weren't talking about it," he said.

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