Global agreement on a roadmap to a legally binding climate treaty

December 11th, 2011 by HM Government Department of Energy and Climate Change

The UN climate talks in South Africa have been heralded a success after a climate change deal was struck in the early hours of Sunday morning.

One hundred and ninety-four parties have spent the past two weeks in Durban discussing how to cut emissions to limit global temperature rise to below two degrees to avoid dangerous climate change.

In a major realignment of support, well over 120 countries formed a coalition behind the EU’s high ambition proposal of a roadmap to a global legally binding deal to curb emissions.

African states together with the least developed countries such as Bangladesh and Gambia, and small island states vulnerable to rising sea levels, like the Maldives, joined with the EU to put forward a timetable which would see the world negotiate a new agreement by 2015 at the latest.

The Republic of Maldives has an average ground level of 1.5 metres above sea level and is vulnerable to sea level rise caused by global warming (click image to expand - ©RLLord)

The talks resulted in a decision to adopt the second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol next year in return for a roadmap to a global legal agreement covering all parties for the first time. Negotiations will begin on the agreement early next year.

Energy and Climate Change Secretary Chris 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.

“The EU’s proposal for the roadmap was at the core of the negotiations and the UK played a central role in galvanising support. This outcome shows the UNFCCC system really works and can produce results. It also shows how a united EU can achieve results on the world stage and deliver in the UK’s best interests.

“There are still many details to be hammered out.  We now need to start negotiating the new legal agreement as soon as possible.”

Also the conference agreed to get the Green Climate Fund up and running, this will help deliver financial support to developing countries to reduce emissions and adapt to the effects of climate change.

  • Global agreement achieved on a roadmap to a legally binding deal
  • Second commitment period of Kyoto Protocol to be agreed next year
  • Green Climate Fund to be set up


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