Canada will announce next month that it will formally withdraw from the Kyoto Protocol, CTV News has learned.

The Harper government has tentatively planned an announcement for a few days before Christmas, CTV's Roger Smith reported Sunday evening.

The developments come as Environment Minister Peter Kent prepares for a climate conference in Durban, South Africa that opens on Monday, with delegates from 190 countries seeking a new international agreement for cutting emissions.

Issues on the agenda include extending the Kyoto emission targets, a move being championed by Christiana Figueres, head of the UN climate secretariat.

Kent said in the House of Commons on Nov. 22 he won't sign a document at the Durban conference that extends the Kyoto targets.

"Canada goes to Durban with a number of countries sharing the same objective, and that is to put Kyoto behind us," Kent said.

NDP environment critic Megan Leslie called the government's decision to pull out of the Kyoto accord "disappointing."

"It's a really cynical and it's a really cowardly move," Leslie told CTV News.

Green Party Leader Elizabeth May called the move "a very damaging act of sabotage."

"It will reverberate around the world," May told CTV. "Canada will be a pariah globally if it goes through with this."

The accord is set to expire next year.

Kent told The Canadian Press that the Kyoto Protocol is out of date because it excludes major emitters among developing nations, including China, India and Brazil.

He also said that previous governments had failed to devise a strategy to hit the accord's targets.

Those targets are now out of reach, and the Conservative government has set other, more modest targets while vowing to press the big polluters among developing nations to sign a deal with their own emissions-reduction targets.

Kent told CP in an interview ahead of the Durban conference that Canada will play hardball with developing countries to get an agreement during the climate talks.

Kent said developing countries should not be allowed to use the emissions records of wealthy nations as an excuse not to agree to lofty emissions-reduction targets.

He also said that all nations must be prepared to demonstrate their progress on whatever emissions targets are contained in any new deal.

Delegates at the conference will also be hammering out the details of a plan to administer the Green Climate Fund, money that is to help poor countries deal with climate change.

The fund is expected to grow over the next eight years to eventually distribute about $100 billion a year. However, it is still unclear where all of that money will come from and how it will be distributed.

In addition to the usual international development funds from the West, proposals include a carbon surcharge on international shipping and on air tickets, as well as a levy on international financial transactions.

According to Kent, should a binding agreement for developing countries come out of the Durban conference, the wealthier nations will be more willing to finalize a plan on the Green Climate Fund. However, he also said the fund's future could be in jeopardy if developing nations don't allow for international scrutiny.

During the talks, Canada will also announce its plans for its annual financial commitment of $400 million to help poorer countries tackle climate change.

Kent said most of the money will be given through bilateral agreements, and half of the money will be distributed as repayable loans.

Canada's future commitments to the Green Climate Fund will depend on an agreement for reducing emissions by 2020, with progress open to international monitoring, he said.

"We need to advance broadly rather than simply make financial agreements as one-offs."