After two weeks of negotiations in Durban, South Africa, a deal was reached that makes progress towards a binding treaty to address climate change. Talks were supposed to wrap up Friday but continued through the night, and then into Saturday night, before negotiators could come to an agreement. The two most prominent elements of the deal concern a replacement for the soon to expire Kyoto Protocol, and general terms for the green climate fund.
Under the terms of the agreement, the 190 countries involved in negotiations have agreed to work towards “a protocol, legal instrument or agreed outcome with legal force.” This will be adopted no later than 2015 but won’t come into force until after 2020.
Throughout the conference there were disagreements between the US, India and China over the respective responsibilities of developed versus developing countries in reducing carbon emissions known as differentiated responsibilities.
Despite the disagreements a deal was reached on common but differentiated responsibilities and a funding mechanism for poorer countries known as the green climate fund.
The aid group CARE International criticized the “weak” and “bitterly disappointing outcome” of the conference. “It is inexcusable that parties have shown lack of urgency and commitment,” said Tonya Rawe, Senior Policy Advocate for CARE USA.
UN chief negotiator Christiana Figueres said the Durban agreement is “critical next step,” but also admitted it is “still insufficient.”
The COP 17 agreement may represent progress, but it is uncertain whether it will be enough to contain climate change.
© 2011, Richard Matthews. All rights reserved.
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