Durban talks to keep Kyoto alive

2011-08-02 21:45

Pretoria - The ministers responsible for hosting UN climate talks at the end of the year said on Tuesday the meeting must focus on keeping alive the Kyoto Protocol, the only binding global deal to cut greenhouse gases.

Environmentalists have criticised the country for dragging its feet ahead of the high-level meeting of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), widely seen as a last-ditch chance to renew the emissions reduction targets agreed to in Kyoto, Japan in 1997.

But environment minister Edna Molewa said organisers are committed to extending the Kyoto agreement at the November 28 to December 9 talks in the eastern port city of Durban.

"We don't want South Africa to be the death of the Kyoto Protocol," she told journalists in Pretoria.

"We would like to have some mechanism agreed upon which will ensure that we retain the architecture."

Kyoto is the only international agreement with binding targets for curbing carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping greenhouse gases.

But its future is uncertain because China and the United States, the world's top two polluters, are not subject to its constraints.

A first five-year commitment period covering 37 industrialised countries expires at the end of 2012.

Japan, Canada and Russia have said they will not sign up for a new round of carbon-cutting vows.

Durban on schedule

The European Union (EU) says it will only do so if other nations - including emerging giants like China and India, which do not have binding targets and have so far rejected them - beef up efforts in a parallel negotiating arena.

The international head of environmental group Greenpeace, South African activist Kumi Naidoo, criticised organisers on Tuesday for getting off to a slow start.

"We are worried that there's less than six months left before we get to Durban. There has to be much stronger leadership and guidance being offered in terms of setting up the ambition levels for the negotiations," he told AFP.

But South African foreign minister (Minister of International Relations and Co-operation) Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, who is charged with organising the complex talks, said her country's preparations were on track.

"South Africa is very much on schedule, if not ahead of schedule," she said, calling Durban "the last stop" to extend the Kyoto commitments.

South Africa has scaled down its expectations for the meeting, and now acknowledges that a global deal to beat back the threat of climate change may not be in the cards for this year.

"While we might not get a legally-binding agreement in Durban, voices are saying, 'Let's start a discussion on the legal framework of the future, of how we should together sign on some long-term commitment to make sure that we don't fold our arms and do nothing about the reality that has become climate change," Nkoana-Mashabane said.

But she also said it is too early to predict what will come out of the talks.

"We can't sit here on the second day of August and prophesy what will be the outcome on December 9. What we can commit to is that we will continue to listen to all voices," she said.

Read more on:    edna molewa  |  maite nkoana-mashabane  |  durban  |  environment  |  cop 17

Read News24’s Comments Policy publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining

Inside News24


Joburg hot spots for cocktails, craft beer, tapas and wine!

It’s the season to be jolly – so we’ve rounded up some new Joburg hot spots!


I love summer.24

The craziest deaths of 2014
How to make this a sensual, sexy summer!
This is what South Africans Googled in 2014!
This hilarious song is your new holiday anthem

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go! - shop online today

2DAYS ONLY – 30% off Appliances

Coffee makers, blenders, fans, juicers and more. T&Cs apply. Shop now!

2 DAYS ONLY – 40% off books

Get 40% off when you buy 2 books. For two days only! T&Cs apply. Buy now!

Up to 50% off on outdoor gear

Save on chairs, blankets, cooler bags, umbrellas and more. Shop now!

Save on Samsung

Cameras, mobile phones, TVs, Tablets and more. While stocks last. Shop now!

Grand Theft Auto 5

Now available on PS4, Xbox One and PC from R649. Buy now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25


There is so much going on around you and inside your head. You may want to take your ideas to the next level. Romance may more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.