Cop 17 approves 2015 climate pact

2011-12-11 07:11

Durban - A marathon UN climate conference on Sunday approved a roadmap towards an accord that for the first time will bring all major emitters of greenhouse gases under a single legal roof.

If approved as scheduled in 2015, the pact will be operational from 2020 and become the prime weapon in the fight against climate change.

The deal was reached after nearly 14 days of talks under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

The world forum also launched a "Green Climate Fund" to help channel up to $100bn a year in aid to poor, vulnerable countries by 2020, an initiative born under the 2009 Copenhagen Summit.

Approval came after two and a half days of round-the-clock wrangling among 194 nations.

Even by UNFCCC standards, the meeting broke the record for going into overtime.

The talks should have ended on Friday but wrapped up at dawn on Sunday amid scenes of exhaustion and shredded nerves.

And the often-stormy exchanges reflected concerns among many countries over the cost of making energy efficiencies and switching to clean renewable sources at a time of belt-tightening.

UNFCCC chief Christiana Figueres was exultant.

Citing the words of Nelson Mandela, she said on Twitter: "In honour of Mandela: It always seems impossible until it is done. And it is done!"

US chief negotiator Todd Stern said: "I think in the end it ended up quite well.

"The first time you will see developing countries agreeing, essentially, to be bound by a legal agreement."


European Climate Commissioner Connie Hedegaard said the deal marked the shift that had occurred over the last 20 years, when the world first set out to tackle climate change and tied only rich countries to carbon constraints.

"The BASIC countries took some significant new steps in acknowledging that the world of the 21st century is not the same as the 20th century," she said referring to the four big emerging economies - Brazil, South Africa, India and China.

In the run-up to the conference, scientists pounded out loud warnings, saying future generations would pay the bill for foot-dragging.

Current measures to tackle carbon emissions are falling far short of the goal of limiting warming to 2ºC.

According to research presented by German scientists, the world is on track for a 3.5ºC rise, spelling worsening droughts, floods, storms and rising sea levels for tens of millions of people.

The European Union (EU) led the charge in Durban, pushing for the "roadmap" in exchange for renewing its pledges to the Kyoto Protocol, a treaty deemed iconic by developing countries but increasingly dismissed by rich ones as out of date.

Kyoto's first roster of legally-binding carbon curbs expires at the end of 2012.

The EU will sign up for fresh commitments taking effect from 2013, although this will be little more than symbolic, translating into the UN framework its existing plan for reducing European greenhouse-gas emissions by 20 percent by 2020 over 1990 levels.

It could also be joined by New Zealand, Norway and Switzerland in a show of unity, say European diplomats. The duration of the post-2013 commitments will be either five or eight years - negotiations on this will take place next year.


The EU made the pledge to help assemble a coalition of developing and small island states - together accounting for nearly two-thirds of the world's nations - that lobbied China, the United States and India to support the quest.

China and India have become huge emitters of carbon over the last six years, but do not have Kyoto constraints as they are developing countries.

The United States, the world's second source of man-made carbon, also has no legal curbs as it refused in 2001 to ratify Kyoto.

The key to the Durban deal lay in overcoming the opposition of the Big Three by crafting vague text about what the pact will be - essentially reassuring them that the price will not be unaffordable.

Observers say the talks for the 2015 pact will be arduous.

The thorny issues include determining the agreement's exact legal status and apportioning carbon constraints among rich and poor countries.

"A heavy work load ahead on the post 2020 arrangement needs to be done," China said in a statement, eyeing next year's UNFCCC conference in the Gulf state of Qatar.

"The lack of political will is the main element that hinders cooperation on addressing climate change in the international community.

"We expect political sincerity from developed countries next year."


  • Chris - 2011-12-11 07:28

    Warning More hot air to come - Until the big three are forced to reduce their emmissions all these talks are useless! Maybe we should avoid buying goods and services from those nations and in that way slow their economies and thus slow their emmissions!

      Hunter - 2011-12-11 07:56

      Chris, the problem is to boycott these nations with the current economic climate as it is, will have an even greater impact on the poor in developing nations. Cheap manufacturing in China and India has a significant impact on the world economy. In fact, they could dictate much more if they wanted to at these talks, since most of the world is counting on the Chinese to pull us out of the current economic slump.

      RA - 2011-12-11 08:59

      the people have spoken. we don't want all the bs u trying to sell us, the youth will lead, a revolution that cannot b stopped world wide.. its amazing how the "evil" people think they still gonna succeed, but you're flesh is letting u down.. LOL, nothing u can do 2 stop that...

      Hugh - 2011-12-11 18:08

      No Chris sadly you are wrong the onus is on you and the other consumers of useless stuff. Think to the number of shirts, shoes or other items that are not essential.Do we really need electricity to function as humans. Industry and governemnts need electricity more than we do. If for three years we only bought what was necessary then the planet would all but halve it carbon output. You cannot have you cake and eat it. No consumer growth, no jobs, no extreme profits,corprate collapse, a saved world. Do your bit before pointing fingers. Imagine the ANC government will resign as there will be no tax money to steal. LOL

  • David - 2011-12-11 07:48

    In other words, the conference did NOT approve a pact. This is typical reporting of an outright failure as if it were a smashing success (compare reporting on EU negotiations to resolve the financial crisis). This is such pathetic BS. Thank heaven it failed! The Climate Change hysteria has been built by the British-run global financial imperialists to achieve a reduction of world population from 7 bn to less than 1 bn. So why do China and South Africa pretend it's something else? If you say, well, South Africa is part of the (de facto) British Empire, and can't help itself, then how do you explain that India has (relatively) so much more guts? South Africa has to industrialize, has to go nuclear, and has to burn coal in the meantime. So, what's this other stuff? Get real. Get a country. A sovereign country.

      Peter - 2011-12-11 08:01

      I really don't know what you are talking about.

  • Kevin - 2011-12-11 08:00


  • Botha - 2011-12-11 08:03

    Hahahahahahah. The biggest hoax ever. Its just about money and nothing else. If anybody has conclusive evidence of global warming or the fact that man is responsible for it, I would like to see the evidence. Remember climategate. They were lying and is still doing so.Its all about "Green Climate Fund" to help channel up to $100bn a year in aid to poor, vulnerable countries . Always follow the money. Now get ready for the CARBON TAX soon to be implemented. Crazy pinko socialist milking the system.

      Gijs - 2011-12-11 17:50

      I have personally on my lifetime seen shrinking glaciers, less snow on mountains and shrinking polar ice. At the same time I have seen the growth of man made CO2 in the atmosphere. For me there is a clear link and it is up to denialists like yourself to provide me with conclusive evidence to the contrary

  • Ian - 2011-12-11 08:04

    freaking idiots, you too late, the damage has been done, hope you enjoyed the tax payer sponsered piss up now f off and go back to your countries and pollute the planet and atmosphere some more, its all you corrupt swine are good at

  • Larry - 2011-12-11 08:29

    Is this the same "Roadmap that they had at the beginning? Their justification for spending a fortune to generate more hot air.

  • mike.clery - 2011-12-11 08:43

    "The key to the Durban deal lay ... crafting vague text about what the pact will be... Observers say the talks for the 2015 pact will be arduous." So all they did was agree to talk about it some more in 2015?

  • rory.short1 - 2011-12-11 08:48

    "The lack of political will is the main element that hinders cooperation on addressing climate change in the international community." That is it exactly! But that political will can be brought into existence by ordinary people refusing to buy products produced in countries which are foot dragging in negotiations about climate change.

  • Vegi - 2011-12-11 08:50

    I think that these climate talks are an exercise in futility and another avenue to make money by purveyors of green energy. Climate change is a buzzword enabling these people to steal more money from the long suffering public in the form of carbon tax or any other devious name they may conceive. As for stopping climate change, no such thing will ever happen. Temperatures will rise and fall as they have done over millenia. Cataclysmic events will occur as they have done before. Billions of fauna (including humans) and flora will be wiped off the face of the earth as it has happened before. New species will emerge and rise while others that had risen before will wither away and die. In the end, ecological equilibrium will be maintained despite man's pathetic efforts at self preservation.

  • Helmut - 2011-12-11 08:50

    What a copout! They had to produce something, but to come up with an agreement due tobne signed in 2015!!! after 2 weeks of indigestion, hangovers and patting themselves on the back is too much to swollow! Maybe some genius will figure out by then that pens cause global warming and that is the reason why the agreement can not be signed! FLOP 17 lived upo to its name as expected.

  • JudithNkwe - 2011-12-11 10:19

    A great big nothing that slaps the whole of Africa in the face, as well as other developing nations. Alas, very much what was expected and now for 8 degrees of warming which will kill Africa

  • jacqueline.knox1 - 2011-12-11 10:20

    much ado and then ... nothing

  • Jacqui - 2011-12-11 11:36

    Like usual, nothing will come of this. It's a waste of time, money talks and money wins everytime.Wait till the day everyone has to stand in a row for a tomato or a bread and then they will moan and groan, but then it will be too late.

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