Canada will formally withdraw from the Kyoto protocol on climate change, a government official told Reuters on Monday, making it the first nation to pull out of the global treaty.

The official did not give details, but Environment Minister Peter Kent, who says it was a mistake for Canada to have signed up for Kyoto, has scheduled a media availability for 5 p.m. ET in Ottawa.

The news does not come as a surprise, especially since Kent said last month that Kyoto is the past. The right-of-centre Conservatives took power in 2006 and made clear they would not stick to Canada's Kyoto commitments.

Canada says it backs a new global deal to cut emissions of greenhouse gases, but insists it has to cover all nations, including China and India, which are not bound by Kyoto's current targets.

Canada's former Liberal government signed up to Kyoto, which obliged the country to cut emissions to 6 percent below 1990 levels by 2012. By 2009 emissions were 17 percent above the 1990 levels.

(Reporting by Randall Palmer; Editing by Jeffrey Hodgson)