Duban negotiators agree landmark climate deal

Duban negotiators agree landmark climate deal

DURBAN, South Africa - Reuters
Duban negotiators agree landmark climate deal

UN Framework Convention on Climate Change Executive Secretary Christiana Figueres speaks with Brazil’s Minister of Environment Izabella Teixeira (L). REUTERS photo

Climate negotiators agreed a pact yesterday that would for the first time force all the biggest polluters to take action on greenhouse gas emissions and put all countries under the same legal regime enforcing commitments to control these emissions.

The package of accords extended the Kyoto Protocol, the only global pact that enforces carbon cuts, agreed the format of a fund to help poor countries tackle climate change and mapped out a path to a legally binding agreement on emissions reductions.

But many small island states and developing nations at risk of being swamped by rising sea levels and extreme weather said the deal marked the lowest common denominator possible and lacked the ambition needed to ensure their survival.

Plan A to save the world
“We came here with plan A, and we have concluded this meeting with plan A to save one planet for the future of our children and our grandchildren to come,” said South African Foreign Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, Reuters reported, who chaired the talks. “We have made history,” she said, bringing the hammer down on Durban conference, the longest in two decades of U.N. climate negotiations.

Delegates agreed to start work next year on a new legally binding treaty to cut greenhouse gases to be decided by 2015 and to come into force by 2020. The process for doing so, called the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action, would “develop a new protocol, another legal instrument or agreed outcome with legal force” that would be applicable under the U.N. climate convention.

That phrasing, agreed at a last-ditch huddle in the conference center between the European Union, India, China and the United States, was used by all parties to claim victory. Britain’s Energy and Climate Secretary Chris Huhne said the result was “a great success for European diplomacy.” “We’ve managed to bring the major emitters like the U.S., India and China into a roadmap which will secure an overarching global deal,” he said.