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Climate negotiators chalk out pact parameters

Delegates at UN conference have agreed on broad parameters of a "weak" climate agreement expected to be signed in Durban, South Africa, in 2011, despite objections from Bolivia. The agreement has received the approval of major carbon emitters - India, United States and China.

world Updated: Dec 13, 2010 00:14 IST
Chetan Chauhan

Delegates at UN conference have agreed on broad parameters of a "weak" climate agreement expected to be signed in Durban, South Africa, in 2011, despite objections from Bolivia. The agreement has received the approval of major carbon emitters - India, United States and China.

The Cancun Agreement- which was supposed to be a saviour for the United Nations multi-lateral process, after the Copenhagen conference took note only of the final agreement - has been termed as weak.

"The emission reduction pledges on table will result in a rise in temperature by 3.2 by 2050 as against 2 degrees C stated in the Cancun deal," said Komi Naidoo, Executive Director of NGO Greenpeace.

The agreement has unquantified reduction in emissions by 2050, a US $ 100-billion climate fund with no timeline on the funding, a technology transfer mechanism without assurance for free transfer of patents, carbon trading mechanism to protect forests and a fund to help developing countries adapt to climate change.

Future of Kyoto Protocol, the existing UN pact that obliges about 40 developed nations to cut greenhouse gases, hangs in balance. Kyoto is supposed to be extended six months before its first period runs out in 2012.

Japan, Canada and Russia are adamant that they will not extend Kyoto and say that shifting world power means that all major emitters should sign up for a new treaty to begin in 2013.

"Never is a word that doesn't exist in politics," said Gordon Shepherd of the green group WWF of the prospects of Japan changing its mind and signing up to a second Kyoto round. "It (Cancun agreement) didn't resolve the problem, you're just buying another year," said John Meyer of Union of Independent Scientists.

Environment minister Jairam Ramesh, who won accolades from delegates for his constructive role, said the BASIC group (of India, China, Brazil and South Africa) are happy with the balanced outcome. "There is always a compromise in a multi-lateral process and we are part of that compromise," Ramesh said.