COP17: Deal in Durban

English: Kyoto Protocol participation map 2010...

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Running 36 hours overtime, a deal was finally struck in Durban at the COP17. So was it the worst possible good outcome or a “complete farce” as Venezuelan climate negotiator Claudia Salerno termed it? The steps taken over the next few critical years will tell. And the role of the climate action movement around the globe will be key.

Delegates from 194 countries represented at the Durban conference agreed to extend the Kyoto Protocol. The only legally binding agreement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, Kyoto was set to expire in 2012. The second term of the Kyoto protocol will begin Jan 1, 2013 and extend for 5 years.

At the last COP, in Cancún, negotiators agreed to a Green Climate Fund (GFC) where the developed nations agreed agreed to provide $100 billion to help poor countries adapt to climate change. In Durban, a committee was set up to calculate the contributions from countries.

In the best case scenario, a new accord will be ironed out in 2015 and take effect in 2020, placing rich and poor alike under common legal constraints.

What this agreement didn’t deliver was a fair, ambitious and legally binding treaty that would limit global temperature rise to the 2˚C the science warns us is necessary to maintain a livable climate. If we don’t see such an agreement emerging in the very near future in conjunction with a drastic reduction in emissions, we are well on the road to perdition scenario of 4˚C or more increase in global temperature over the next century.

Democracy Now! broadcast Climate Activists: Durban Deal is
“Very Weak” Agreement, Lacks “Ambition, Equity, Justice”

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