Conference in overtime on future of climate talks

Dec 10, 2011 By ARTHUR MAX , Associated Press
Protesters hold a night vigil as talks at the climate change summit stall in Durban, South Africa, Friday, Dec 9, 2011. Negotiators from Europe, small islands threatened by rising oceans and the world's poorest countries sought to keep alive the only treaty governing global warming and to move on to the next stage, struggling against an unlikely alliance of the United States, China and India. (AP Photo/Schalk van Zuydam)

(AP) -- Deep into overtime, negotiators from 194 nations worked straight through a second night, parsing drafts and seeking compromises to map out the future pathway to fight global warming.

Delegates, working on little sleep, huddled with allies to prepare for a decisive meeting later Saturday, when it will become clear whether the diverse and long-bickering parties can come together on a plan to extend and broaden the global campaign to limit .

"We think it's important not to give up now. We have come a long way," said a weary Connie Hedegaard, the European commissioner on climate issues, speaking more than 12 hours after the two-week conference had been scheduled to close Friday evening.

Small island countries and the world's poorest nations lined up behind an EU plan to begin talks on a future agreement that would come into effect no later than 2020.

As negotiations progressed, the United States and India eased objections to compromise texts, but China remained a strong holdout, EU officials said on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the continuing talks.

Under discussion was an extension of binding pledges by the EU and a few other industrial countries to cut under the . Those commitments expire next year.

The EU, the primary bloc bound by commitments under the 1997 protocol, conditioned an extension on starting new talks on an accord to succeed Kyoto. The talks would conclude by 2015, allowing five years for it to be ratified by national legislatures. The plan insists the new agreement equally oblige all countries - not just the few industrial powers - to abide by .

Developing countries are adamant that the Kyoto commitments continue since it is the only agreement that compels any nation to reduce emissions. say the document is deeply flawed because it makes no demands on heavily polluting . It was for that reason that the United States never ratified it.

Host country South Africa organized the final stages of negotiations into "indabas," a Zulu-language word meaning important meetings that carries the weight of a rich African culture.

At the indaba, the chief delegate from fewer than 30 countries, each with one aide, sat around an oblong table to thrash over text. Dozens of delegates were allowed to stand and observe from the periphery of the room but not to participate.

After the first meeting that ran overnight into Friday morning, conference president Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, who is South Africa's foreign minister, drafted an eight-point compromise on the key question of the legal form of a post-2020 regime. The wording would imply how tightly countries would be held accountable for their emissions.

But the text was too soft for the Europeans and for the most vulnerable countries threatened by rising oceans, more frequent droughts and fiercer storms.

With passion rarely heard in a negotiating room, countries like Barbados pleaded for language instructing all parties to dig deeper into their carbon emissions and to speed up the process, arguing that the survival of their countries and millions of climate-stressed people were at risk.

Nkoana-Mashabane drafted new text after midnight Saturday that largely answered those criticisms. The U.S. told the indaba it could live with the language, but the reactions of China and India were not clear.

Explore further: Could Iceland volcano disrupt air travel?

5 /5 (2 votes)
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Coal gas boom in China holds climate change risks

Aug 22, 2014

Deep in the hilly grasslands of remote Inner Mongolia, twin smoke stacks rise more than 200 feet into the sky, their steam and sulfur billowing over herds of sheep and cattle. Both day and night, the rumble ...

EU sets new energy savings target at 30%

Jul 23, 2014

After months of tough negotiations, the European Commission recommended Wednesday a new energy savings target of 30 percent so as to combat climate change and ensure self-sufficiency.

Carbon clean-up needs energy revolution, leaders told

Jul 08, 2014

More than two dozen scientific institutes, in unprecedented advice to world leaders, on Tuesday urged major economies to unleash an energy revolution for slashing carbon emissions to safer levels by 2050.

Recommended for you

Could Iceland volcano disrupt air travel?

12 minutes ago

Following further reports of seismic activity around volcanoes in Iceland, scientists from the University's Department of Meteorology provide comment on the likelihood of an eruption - and how any ash plume ...

Thailand totters towards waste crisis

2 hours ago

A blaze at a vast rubbish dump home to six million tonnes of putrefying trash and toxic effluent has kindled fears that poor planning and lax law enforcement are tipping Thailand towards a waste crisis.

Changing global diets is vital to reducing climate change

18 hours ago

A new study, published today in Nature Climate Change, suggests that – if current trends continue – food production alone will reach, if not exceed, the global targets for total greenhouse gas (GHG) emissi ...

Water police on patrol in drought-scarred Los Angeles

Aug 31, 2014

Los Angeles isn't the world's wettest city at the best of times. But a record drought has triggered extra measures—now including "water police" checking on over-zealous sprinkler users and the like.

User comments : 4

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

omatumr
1.8 / 5 (5) Dec 11, 2011
In Nov 2009 Climategate:

http://joannenova...imeline/

Exposed the totalitarian world government that George Orwell warned about in 1949:

www.online-litera...ll/1984/

1. A special report for 21st Century Science & Technology in 2007 concluded AGW was a "Hoax" born in a 1975 'Endangered Atmosphere' Conference - two years before emails showed AGW was based on manipulated temperature data/

www.21stcenturysc...Born.pdf

2. Many flaws were noted in the UN's IPCC Reports before Climategate.

http://arxiv.org/pdf/0905.0704

3. It was recently concluded that AGW came from 1971 agreements to save the world from the threat of mutual nuclear annihilation by ending the space and arms races and uniting nations against a common enemy - global climate change.

http://dl.dropbox...oots.pdf

Oliver K. Manuel
www.omatumr.com
http://myprofile....anuelo09
Davecoolman
2 / 5 (4) Dec 11, 2011
As I said throughout COP15 COP16 COP17

& will continue to state through COP50. There will never be a deal till hell freezes over. But on the bright side there will be plenty more UN climate party's in exotic locations paid for by the taxpayers, Yea thats climate justice for you!

The 194-party conference agreed to start negotiations on a new accord that would put all countries under the same legal regime to enforce their commitments to control greenhouse gases. It would take effect by 2020 at the latest.

The good news is we avoided a train wreck, said Alden Meyer, recalling predictions a few days ago of a likely failure. The bad news is that we did very little here to affect the emissions curve.

An agreement to start??? So what have they been doing? Oh right negotiations, yea thats it.

The delegates agreed to negotiate a new agreement no later than 2015. They agreed to agree later.

Davecoolman
2 / 5 (4) Dec 11, 2011
Cop17 - Durban A yes/no deal was hammered out = An agreement to keep on keeping on.

So does this mean the deal is toothless? A hollow victory to save face?

A face-saving Nothing Burger with an imaginary side of fries

Theyre getting desperate when they have to declare an agreement to continue negotiating a landmark

I particularly love the references to reducing CO2 emissions by more than 100%.
Yea dream on!
Vendicar_Decarian
3.7 / 5 (3) Dec 11, 2011
"A face-saving Nothing Burger with an imaginary side of fries" - CoolTard

Sounds like a Republican economic stimulus plan.