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Summary of decisions from Durban climate conference

Countries meeting in Durban, South Africa, managed to deliver an agreement after an extension to negotiations. Governments at the COP17 meeting decided to adopt some form of a universal legal agreement on climate change as soon as possible, but not later than 2015. Work on this is to begin immediately under a new group called the Ad Hoc Working Group on the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action.

Governments, including 35 industrialized countries, also agreed to a second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol—due to expire next year— from 1 January 2013. Parties to this second period will turn their economy-wide targets into quantified emission limitation or reduction objectives and submit them for review by 1 May 2012.

This is highly significant because the Kyoto Protocol’s accounting rules, mechanisms and markets all remain in action as effective tools to leverage global climate action and as models to inform future agreements.

— Christiana Figueres, Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

Countries also agreed upon an advanced framework for the reporting of emission reductions for both developed and developing countries, taking into consideration the common but differentiated responsibilities of different countries.

The governments also agreed to the full implementation of the package to support developing nations, agreed upon last year in Cancun, Mexico. The package includes the Green Climate Fund; an Adaptation Committee designed to improve the coordination of adaptation actions on a global scale; and a Technology Mechanism, which are to become fully operational in 2012.

Governments acknowledged the “urgent concern” that the current sum of pledges to cut emissions both from developed and developing countries is not high enough to keep the global average temperature rise below two degrees Celsius, based on forecasts. They therefore decided that the UN Climate Change process shall “increase ambition to act” and will be led by the climate science in the IPCC’s Fifth Assessment Report and the global Review from 2013-2015.

The next major UNFCCC Climate Change Conference, COP 18/CMP 8, will take place 26 November to 7 December 2012 in Qatar, in close cooperation with the Republic of Korea.

Details of key decisions that emerged from COP17 in Durban

Green Climate Fund

  • Countries have already started to pledge to contribute to start-up costs of the fund, meaning it can be made ready in 2012, and at the same time can help developing countries get ready to access the fund, boosting their efforts to establish their own clean energy futures and adapt to existing climate change.

  • A Standing Committee is to keep an overview of climate finance in the context of the UNFCCC and to assist the Conference of the Parties. It will comprise 20 members, represented equally between the developed and developing world.

  • A focused work program on long-term finance was agreed will contribute to the scaling up of climate change finance going forward and will analyse options for the mobilisation of resources from a variety of sources.

Adaptation

  • The Adaptation Committee, composed of 16 members, will report to the COP on its efforts to improve the coordination of adaptation actions at a global scale.

  • The adaptive capacities above all of the poorest and most vulnerable countries are to be strengthened. National Adaptation Plans will allow developing countries to assess and reduce their vulnerability to climate change.

  • The most vulnerable are to receive better protection against loss and damage caused by extreme weather events related to climate change.

Technology

  • The Technology Mechanism will become fully operational in 2012.

  • The full terms of reference for the operational arm of the Mechanism—the Climate Technology Centre and Network—are agreed upon, along with a clear procedure to select the host. The UNFCCC secretariat will issue a call for proposals for hosts on 16 January 2012.

Support of developing country action

  • Governments agreed a registry to record developing country mitigation actions that seek financial support and to match these with support. The registry will be a flexible, dynamic, web-based platform.

Other key decisions

  • A forum and work program on unintended consequences of climate change actions and policies were established.

  • Under the Kyoto Protocol’s Clean Development Mechanism, governments adopted procedures to allow carbon-capture and storage projects. These guidelines will be reviewed every five years to ensure environmental integrity.

  • Governments agreed to develop a new market-based mechanism to assist developed countries in meeting part of their targets or commitments under the Convention.

  • Details of this will be taken forward in 2012.

Resources

Comments

Reel$$

"After two weeks of negotiations in Durban, South Africa, a face saving deal was reached that yet again delays the adoption of a binding treaty to address climate change."

http://www.greenconduct.com/news/2011/12/11/extended-cop-17-negotiations-yield-weak-agreement/

Archbishop Tutu and other prominent Africans signed a petition against Canada, published as an ad in ECO, a daily newsletter at the conference, urging Canada to take action on climate change.

"Canada, you were once considered a leader on global issues like human rights and environmental protection. Today you’re home to polluting tar sands oil, speeding the dangerous effects of climate change. For us in Africa, climate change is a life and death issue,” it said.

http://www.greenconduct.com/news/2011/12/11/canada-is-a-pariah-at-cop-17/

HarveyD

Canada has decided to pull out of Kyoto Treaty and triple tar sands production and promote the use of heavy gas guzzlers.

That's real progress from a Progressive Conservative Party???

We do not deserve any better because we voted them in a few months. Amazing what Oil $$$$ can do.

ai_vin

Who you calling "we" paleface?

[Sorry, its an old joke.]

Point is I did not vote them in, and either did 8,757,658 of my fellow Canadians. Stephen Harper was elected with just 39.62% of the popular vote. The problem was the rest of the vote was divided up between four other parties.

Also, the PC party is no more, Harper axed the progressive part and renamed it "The Conservative Party of Canada" at the end of 2003.

Reel$$

Luckily there is a solution to all this in-fighting. It addresses real issues like food, clean water, heat for cooking and light. It has nothing to do with climate change - which Durban proves again humans are unimpressed with. It has everything do do with raising the standard of living for billions on Earth.

HarveyD

It sounds better with the Old Name Progressive.....

Tar Sands and Kyoto are not very compatible. Kyoto may have to go unless 10KW to 15 KW LENRs + 99 % efficient Thermionic converters + ESStor units + AC/DC converters + two BEVs in every house in America come to the rescue. It that OK Reels$$?

HarveyD

corredtion....should read...Is that OK....

ai_vin

BTW, Stephen Harper has ALWAYS been against Kyoto, even before he was our PM;
http://www.lilith-ezine.com/articles/environmental/Harper-Vs-Kyoto.html

ai_vin

And this;
http://www.straight.com/article-163372/expert-says-scientists-muzzled

Reel$$

To be accurate, Canadian government scientists (Weaver) were required to obtain authorization from media-relations staff before doing interviews.

Not atypical for any business. You assign spokespeople to represent official policy. Weaver wrote a book that said all he wanted to say. And the Canadian people were unimpressed.

ai_vin

We were "unimpressed" ???

The facts do not support you opinion;
http://www.cbc.ca/news/technology/story/2011/02/22/pol-lunn-climate-survey.html
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/support-for-climate-action-still-strong-in-canada-poll-finds/article2255707/

In the 2011 version of the annual environmental survey, more Canadians named climate change and other environmental issues as the most serious problem facing the world than any other issue, even as their fear about global recession has climbed in the past year.

ai_vin

To be honest I should point out the flipside of this. While ~75-80% of canadians see global warming as a world problem fewer of us see it as a problem for us here: Canada can get really cold in the winter so many people are actually looking forward to it. Of course given that most Canadians live in cities, I doubt those people lived in the areas hit hard by its effects.

So maybe that's why climate change is not seen as a “clear and present danger” at home.

Reel$$

Should I say, "unimpressed" enough to elect Stephen Harper?? That's the fact.

ai_vin

"Stephen Harper was elected with just 39.62% of the popular vote. The problem was the rest of the vote was divided up between four other parties."

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