Climate talk ends in Durban, fails on ‘real deal’
A UNITED Nations (UN) climate conference reached a hard-fought agreement yesterday on a far-reaching programme meant to set a new course for the global fight against climate change.
The 194-party conference agreed to start negotiations on a new accord that would ensure that countries would be legally bound to carry out any pledges they make. It would take effect by 2020 at the latest.
However, the deal does not explicitly compel any nation to take on emissions targets, although most emerging economies have volunteered to curb the growth of their emissions.
Currently, only industrial countries have legally binding emissions targets under the 1997 Kyoto Protocol. Those commitments expire next year, but they will be extended for at least another five years under the accord adopted yesterday – a key demand by developing countries seeking to preserve the only existing treaty regulating carbon emissions.
“The grim news is that the blockers led by the United States (U.S.) have succeeded in inserting a vital get-out clause that could easily prevent the next big climate deal being legally binding. If that loophole is exploited it could be a disaster. And the deal is due to be implemented ‘from 2020’ leaving almost no room for increasing the depth of carbon cuts in this decade when scientists say we need emissions to peak,” said Kumi Naidoo, Greenpeace International Executive Director.
Naidoo added: “Right now, the global climate regime amounts to nothing more than a voluntary deal that’s put off for a decade. This could take us over the two degree threshold where we pass from danger to potential catastrophe.
“Our atmosphere has been loaded with a carbon debt and the bill, carrying a Durban postmark, has been posted to the world’s poorest countries especially here in Africa.”
The chance of averting catastrophic climate change is slipping through our hands with every passing year that nations fail to agree on a rescue plan for the planet.
“The type of deal that has been reached has been strongly influenced by the blockers led by the U.S.,” said Ferrial Adam, Climate and Energy Campaigner for Greenpeace Africa.
Author of this article: By Kamal Tayo Oropo, with agency report