So here is our final update on COP in Durban. A great success… not really. The end of all hope…. Well, apparently not. See if you are convinced.
Really, the Kyoto Protocol has been slayed after Canada, Japan, Russia and the US declared no interest in continuing the treaty with mandatory emission targets (or even start with the process, in the case of the US).
But there is a lifeline for Kyoto, in shape of a European Union’ 27 states’ commitment which will be formally approved by national governments next year.
Launching the Green Climate Fund will open up new resources to support projects, programmes, policies and other activities in developing country Parties. But the biggest so-called success of COP 2011 was a roadmap which, if approved as scheduled in 2015, will be operational from 2020 (!) and become the prime weapon in our struggle against climate change. And until then? Well there is said European bridging mechanism.
“I think in the end it ended up quite well,” said US chief negotiator Todd Stern.
The European Union hailed the outcome as a “historic breakthrough”
UNFCCC chief Christiana Figueres was exultant, she said on Twitter: “In honour of Mandela: It always seems impossible until it is done. And it is done!
Greenpeace has a somewhat different opinion of the result and said “the deal was too porous and could spell climate disaster.”
Greenpeace director Kumi Naidoo said: “The grim news is that the blockers led by the US have succeeded in inserting a vital get-out clause that could easily prevent the next big climate deal being legally binding. If that loophole is exploited it could be a disaster.“
China and India are huge emitters of CO2 but do not have Kyoto constraints as they are developing countries.
The United States already refused to ratify Kyoto in the original version.
In order to deal with the opposition of the Big Three a rather vague text about was drawn up for the pact.
That compromise has had to let go of the term “legally binding“, which would likely trigger a backlash among the conservative right in the United States during a presidential election year.
We are now officially (scientifically) on track for a 3.5 C (6.3 F) rise, spelling worsening droughts, floods, storms and rising sea levels for tens of millions of people.
For more infomation see previous blogs on COP 17 dealing with intellectual property rights and technology transfer and general expectations.