Progress from Durban?

December 11, 2011

Meeting in Durban, South Africa, government officials from many nations worked to find solutions to human causation of destructive climate change, in the framework of proposed treaties under United Nations aegis.

Negotiations at Durban, South Africa, December 10, 2011 - UK DECC photo

Negotiators at the COP17 Climate Conference in Durban work late into the night to reach agreement on a roadmap to a legally binding deal, 10 December 2011. UKDECC photo and caption

Did anyone expect good reports out of these meetings?

From the UK Department of Energy and Climate Change, we get this press release, dated Sunday, December 11, 2011:

Road open to new global legal climate treaty

  • Global agreement achieved on a roadmap to a legally binding deal
  • Second commitment period of Kyoto Protocol to be agreed next year
  • Green Climate Fund to be set up

The UN climate talks in South Africa have been heralded a success after a climate change deal was struck in the early hours of Sunday morning.194 parties have spent the past two weeks in Durban discussing how to cut emissions to limit global temperature rise to below two degrees to avoid dangerous climate change.

In a major realignment of support, well over 120 countries formed a coalition behind the EU’s high ambition proposal of a roadmap to a global legally binding deal to curb emissions. African states together with the least developed countries such as Bangladesh and Gambia, and small island states vulnerable to rising sea levels, like the Maldives, joined with the EU to put forward a timetable which would see the world negotiate a new agreement by 2015 at the latest.

The talks resulted in a decision to adopt the second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol next year in return for a roadmap to a global legal agreement covering all parties for the first time. Negotiations will begin on the agreement early next year.

Energy and Climate Change Secretary Chris Huhne said:

“This is a significant step forward in curbing emissions to tackle global climate change. For the first time we’ve seen major economies, normally cautious, commit to take the action demanded by the science.

“The EU’s proposal for the roadmap was at the core of the negotiations and the UK played a central role in galvanising support. This outcome shows the UNFCCC system really works and can produce results. It also shows how a united EU can achieve results on the world stage and deliver in the UK’s best interests.

“There are still many details to be hammered out, but we now need to start negotiating the new legal agreement as soon as possible and there are still many details to be hammered out.”

Also the conference agreed to get the Green Climate Fund up and running, this will help deliver financial support to developing countries to reduce emissions and adapt to the effects of climate change.

Notes to editors:

Further details on the Durban climate talks can be found at:

Visit the Durban COP 17 pages of the DECC website

Call me skeptical that this report is completely accurate, but as I refuse to be “skeptical” of the reality that the Earth warms, call me hopeful, too.  It’s an agreement to keep talking.


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