Canada is withdrawing from the Kyoto Protoco on climate change, Environment Minister Peter Kent said Monday, abandoning its 1997 commitment to cut emissions 6% below 1990 levels by 2102 and cementing the transformation of the country's image as a global leader in the fight against climate change into what critics are calling a "climate renegade." By 2009 Canada's emissions were 17 percent above 1990 levels. Canada faced nearly $14 billion in penalties for failing to reduce greenhouse emissions if it had remained a signatory to the Kyoto accord. The Kyoto Protocol was signed by the Liberal Party, and Canada's current Conservative government has made it clear since 2006 that it had no intention of honoring the Kyoto pact, in part because it does not cover major emitters of greenhouse gases such as the US and China. Adopted on Dec. 11, 1997, the Kyoto Protocol set binding targets for 37 industrialized countries and the EU to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Major polluters Brazil, India and China were signatories but as developing economies were not required to reduce emissions. US President Bill Clinton signed the agreement but it was not ratified by Congress. Then Senate Energy and Natural Resources committee chairman Frank H. Murkowski said the Kyoto accord was "dead on arrival."