Durban: a difficult agreement
The challenge was to provide a follow up the Kyoto Protocol, the only legally binding tool for forty polluting states, which expires in 2012.
The negotiations, which lasted thirty-six hours, resulted in extremis in an overall framework for all 194 countries present in Durban.
It provides for an agreement in 2015 (that will enter into force in 2020) that will include all major emitters of greenhouse gas emissions, the United States and China being at the top of the list.
However, a new “legally binding” agreement was not made effective alongside the Durban Convention.
However, key countries participated fully in these negotiations. In preparation for Rio + 20 in June 2012 and the COP18 in Qatar at the end of 2012, Nicholas Stern, the economist and author of a benchmark report on the cost of climate change, concluded that “a small but significant step forward (was taken).”
A shared commitment for the future was found thanks notably to Europe’s determination. Although there remains much to be done, as specified by the agreement’s legal framework fixed for 2015, it’s existence is already an achievement. However, is it enough considering the urgency of the climate situation?