The Canadian government's decision to pull out of the Kyoto Protocol, the only legally binding global agreement on fighting climate change, has sent shivers across the world.
The move came as a particularly bitter blow for global efforts to fight climate change, as negotiators from 195 countries had just ended two weeks of hard bargaining seeking to extend the Kyoto Protocol, of which the first commitment period will expire at the end of next year, and to build consensus for greater global action on climate change.
The Canadian government argues that its decision to withdraw from the protocol will save it an estimated 14 billion Canadian dollars (13.6 billion U.S. dollars) in penalties for failing to meet targets set by Kyoto.
However, at a time when united action is vital to achieving the targets in global efforts to save the only planet we have, Canada's decision is nothing but a short-sighted gambit.
The Canadian government is putting itself in an awkward position.
Canada, one of the few industrial countries that have successfully dodged the most devastating effects of the global financial crisis, has tried hard to sell a Canadian development model to the international community.
But as a country denouncing the ineffectiveness of a widely accepted global treaty and trying to shirk its international obligations, Canada has few selling points left to back up its so-called unique development model.
The Canadian government's decision, which is denting the country's international reputation, is surely to backfire. It has already drawn a chorus of criticism and condemnations from foreign governments and environmentalists alike.
The country's maneuver to pull out of the landmark 1997 treaty on global warming has dealt a blow to the marathon efforts to bring all greenhouse gases emitters under a single legal roof.
Worse still, Canada, as the first country to officially quit the treaty, is sending a wrong signal to some other developed signatory countries.
Canada's unilateral decision should be firmly denounced and countries across the world should work together to make sure that Canada will not become the first of many "bad apples."
It has become clearer and clearer that human-induced climate change is taking a heavy toll on the Earth, as extreme weather conditions have been hitting an increasing number of countries in the past few years, displacing and starving millions of people.
The global fight against climate change is not something we can choose to quit. All countries and governments have practical and moral obligations to get engaged in the efforts.
The Canadian government might try to sell the so-called benefits of quitting the Kyoto Protocol to its people.
But how can it account to future generations for its failure to contribute to worldwide efforts to meet a daunting global challenge and for its decision made at the expense of the well-being of our children and grandchildren?