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Woman power sealed the deal

It was woman power at Durban climate summit that saved the day and struck the deal to save the planet from dangerous carbon emissions.

delhi Updated: Dec 12, 2011 23:26 IST
Chetan Chauhan
Chetan Chauhan
Hindustan Times

It was woman power at Durban climate summit that saved the day and struck the deal to save the planet from dangerous carbon emissions.

European Union climate commissioner Connie Hedegaard and Indian environment minister Jayanthi Natarajan negotiated hard at the meet, which was presided over by another tough woman - president of the conference and South African foreign minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane.

"Probably, women are more focused and determined than men," one observer said in Durban.

Both Natarajan, 57, one of youngest ministers to join the Indian cabinet in 1997 and Hedegaard, 51, youngest person to be elected to Danish Parliament, played an important role in striking a deal.

Hedegaard stuck her ground on Europe's roadmap for more than 36 hours and Natarajan refused to give in despite, China, a key partner, agreeing to emission cuts. It was only when Hedegaard told Natarajan, India had got a second commitment period for existing climate Kyoto Protocol and equity was back on the negotiating table and she "reluctantly" agreed to show that India came with a flexible approach.

"We've had very intense discussions. We were not happy with reopening the text but in the spirit of flexibility and accommodation shown by all, we have shown our flexibility... we agree to adopt it," Natarajan said.

Mashabane, though faced criticism for the way negotiations were held, kept her cool to get Durban a place in climate change history. Like her, presidents of previous climate summits in Cancun in 2010 and in Copenhagen in 2009 were also women.

First Published: Dec 12, 2011 23:23 IST