Canada has agreed to negotiate a second phase of the Kyoto Protocol, dispelling concerns that the Conservative government would try to block progress at a major climate conference in Bonn.

Richard Kinley, acting head of the United Nations Climate Change Secretariat, hailed the international consensus at a final news conference Friday from Germany.

"The group agreed last night on an ambitious agenda for their negotiating process which should result in the adoption of new emissions-reduction targets for industrialized countries within the next few years," he said.

"We see this as a very positive start. It's always difficult to get a new negotiation going but this one did take off."

Louise Comeau of the Vancouver-based Sage Climate Project said the process will ensure deepening engagement by developing countries who account for a rising share of emissions.

"It's a very good outcome, very good," she said.

There had been predictions Canada - which chaired this round of talks - would play an obstructive role since Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Environment Minister Rona Ambrose have criticized the treaty and said its targets are unrealistic.

A leaked government memo to negotiators in Bonn suggested Canada would oppose extension of the treaty in favour of a voluntary approach. But activists who followed the proceedings said the Canadian delegation kept a low profile.

Asked about Ambrose's participation, Kinsey said: "The president fulfilled her responsibilities with complete confidence of the members, of the executive and with impartiality."

Steven Guilbeault of Greenpeace speculated that the Harper government decided to restrain its objections because it was feeling the pressure of public opinion.

"By working together with the opposition, with the provinces, with the people of Canada, and with business . . . we will be able to stop this government from derailing the international negotiations on climate change."

A spokesman for Ambrose declined to comment on the outcome, except to confirm that Canada will participate in the next round of talks, scheduled for Nairobi in November.

The objective of the Kyoto treaty is to curb emissions of greenhouse gases which have created a heat-trapping blanket around the planet. All leading industrial nations except the United States and Australia have ratified the treaty.


International and other pressure from Canadian groups and GreenPeace has made the Cons flip-flop. They are flip flopping on elected senate as well as other issues.