Leaders gather for Durban climate talks

As heads of state from around the world gather in Durban today to begin the UN’s latest round of climate talks, environmentalists have urged them to “lay the foundations” for […]

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By Vicky Ellis

As heads of state from around the world gather in Durban today to begin the UN’s latest round of climate talks, environmentalists have urged them to “lay the foundations” for a global deal or risk dangerous climate change.

Attempts to set new climate targets that will kick in once the Tokyo Protocol runs out in 2012 have been hampered by indecision, with some commentators speculating that a deal may not be reached for at least another year.

Speaking ahead of the South African meet, environmental charity WWF said leaders must set out a “united response”.

Samantha Smith, leader of WWF’s Global Climate and Energy Initiative said: “Right now, the story of worsening natural disasters caused by climate change will fill the pages of history books with a narrative of failed ambitions, shortsightedness, and a lack of courage from world leaders to deal with this threat.

“In Durban leaders have a choice. They can build on the progress achieved at last year’s UN climate change negotiations in Cancun and act to prevent runaway climate change. Or they can allow short-term national interests to set us on a dangerous path.”

WWF wants countries to work towards a legally binding global agreement that includes all countries by 2015.