International climate change agreement reached

An international climate agreement was agreed this weekend at COP17 in Durban. The deal brings together, for the first time, all major emitters into international efforts to limit global warming. […]

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By Tom Gibson

An international climate agreement was agreed this weekend at COP17 in Durban. The deal brings together, for the first time, all major emitters into international efforts to limit global warming. However, many are still critical as the deal’s not likely until 2015.

Governments, which included 35 industrialised countries, agreed a second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol from January 1 2013. Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, President of the Durban UN Climate Change Conference said: “We have taken crucial steps forward for the common good and the global citizenry today. I believe that what we have achieved in Durban will play a central role in saving tomorrow, today.”

But environmental campaign groups were far from convinced by the measures. Keith Allott, head of WWF’s climate team said: “In the end governments did just enough to salvage a path forward for further negotiations. But we shouldn’t be under any illusion – the outcome of Durban leaves us with the prospect of being legally bound to a world of 4C warming. That would be catastrophic for people and the natural world.”

Unfazed, UK Energy Secretary Chris Huhne welcomed the deal, which includes designs for a Green Climate Fund.

Mr Huhne said: “This is a significant step forward in curbing emissions to tackle global climate change. For the first time we’ve seen major economies, normally cautious, commit to take the action demanded by the science… There are still many details to be hammered out, but we now need to start negotiating the new legal agreement as soon as possible.”