The Durban climate summit agreed to extend the Kyoto Protocol and keep the negotiations going on till it comes out with a legally binding document before 2015 which will come into effect by 2020
The climate talks at Durban in South Africa ended last week with a glimmer of hope for a new and more comprehensive legally binding agreement in the coming years.
The 195 party conference including Bhutan agreed to start negotiation on a new accord that would put all countries under the same legal regime enforcing commitments to control green house gases.
It was also agreed that the Kyoto protocol will continue before another legal document is in place. The continuation of the Kyoto Protocol during this new negotiation phase means that the provisions of this existing emission reduction treaty, ranging from emissions trading to the Clean Development Mechanism, will also continue providing some benefit to the climate and the ambitions of developing economies over the near term.
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 another five years under the accord adopted last Sunday.
This is one of the key demands by developing countries seeking to preserve the only existing treaty regulating carbon emissions.
The UN climate convention agreed on several other key and important steps forward including an agreement to negotiate a new and more inclusive treaty and the establishment of a Green Climate Fund.
The UN Under-Secretary General and the UNEP Executive Director, Achim Steiner, said the outcomes of Durban provide a welcome boost for global climate action.
He said the outcomes reflect the growing determinations of countries to act collectively and provide a clear signal and predictability to economic planners, business and investors about the future of low carbon economies.
“A number of specific commitments agreed in Durban also indicate that previous decisions on financing, technology and Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REED+) are improving to implementation,” said Achim Steiner.
The other important step taken at the Durban summit is the progress made on the establishment of the Green Climate Fund. The countries also agreed to establish an Adaptation Committee and a process that will lead to the establishment of a Climate Technology Center and Network with likely funding from the Global Environment Facility (GEF).
Other steps forward included operationalizing Cancun agreements on adaptation and technology. “The movements forward on the Cancun agreements in respect to adaptation and climate technology institutions are welcome, as is the operationalization of the Green Climate Fund. But the core question of whether more than 190 nations can cooperate in order to peak and bring down emissions to the necessary level by 2020 remains open—it is a high risk strategy for the planet and its people,” said Achim Steiner.