Representatives of the World’s nations have managed to cobble together something out of the UN Climate Change Conference in Durban, South Africa, which was aiming to replace the existing Kyoto Agreement on greenhouse gas emissions with something the whole World, including the three biggest polluters India, China and the USA, would sign up to. Europe and a coalition of 120 countries had been making progress towards a new treaty but talks stalled, and eventually the conferences was extended by an additional 24 hours giving exhausted delegates, including the UK’s Climate Secretary Chris Huhne and the EU Climate Change Commissioner Connie Hedegaard, a chance to reach a compromise agreement. What the warming World is left with is an agreement to set a framework to begin to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from 2020 and a fund of $60 billion to help poorer developing nations cope with climate change. As Mohamed Aslam, chief negotiator for the Maldives pointed out, their islands are at real risk from flooding if sea levels continue to rise which will ultimately destroy their nation. With that in mind, a group of delegates from small island states and Africa protested inside the conference hall calling for ‘Climate Justice’. The march was stopped.
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon welcomed the set of decisions, saying they represent a significant agreement that will define how the international community will address climate change in the coming years highlighting that the Durban Platform will include the launch of a protocol or legal instrument that would apply to all members, a second commitment period for the existing Kyoto Protocol and the launch of the Green Climate Fund. In a statement Mr. Ban said the new accord is “essential for stimulating greater action and for raising the level of ambition and the mobilization of resources to respond to the challenges of climate change.” Mr. Ban also welcomed the agreement to establish a second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol, stating it will “increase certainty for the carbon market and provide additional incentives for new investments in technology and the infrastructure necessary to fight climate change.”