There’s a wide range of reaction to the Durban deal struck early this morning.
If you consider the important task of bringing developing countries like China and India into negotiations for some kind of legal emissions framework, while also implementing many of the priorities set in last year’s Cancun meeting, the outcome looks more positive. John Podesta, former chief of staff for the Clinton White House, and Chairman of the Board at the Center for American Progress (CAP) falls into this camp:
“China is in line to be the world’s biggest cumulative emitter by mid-century and as early as 2035. From the perspective of solving this problem we cannot get to any workable resolution unless we can trust the reductions China takes and have a roadmap to get them to strengthen their ambition.”
However, when viewed in the context of the dire climate problem, the Durban agreements simply don’t get us to where we need to be. Climate Action Tracker analyzed the impact of the frameworks agreed upon at COP17:
The agreement in Durban to establish a new body to negotiate a global agreement (Ad Hoc Working Group on the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action) by 2015 represents a major step forward. The Climate Action Tracker scientists stated, however, that the agreement will not immediately affect the emissions outlook for 2020 and has postponed decisions on further emission reductions. They warned that catching up on this postponed action will be increasingly costly.
The Climate Action Tracker estimates that global mean warming would reach about 3.5°C by 2100 with the current reduction proposals on the table. They are definitely insufficient to limit temperature increase to 2°C.
We’ll have more coming on the politics, implementation and science behind these targets in the coming days.
5:00 am: Tweets of the morning from Christina Figueres, executive secretary of the UNFCCC:
After a grueling two days of negotiations with almost no rest, the international community gathered at COP 17 in Durban, South Africa was able to agree on an extension of the Kyoto Protocol, a process for negotiating internationally-binding emissions framework [note: I took out the word "target" here], and more details on an international fund for financing adaptation and mitigation projects.
Before the meeting even began, people were ready to write off the negotiations as a failure. With almost all major priorities outlined by negotiators coming into the meeting adopted, the international community has taken far bigger steps than anyone expected.
As Figueres pointed out, they are still not enough to get us on a sharply declining emissions path. And a number of environmental groups are heavily criticizing the package, saying it won’t get the job done. But it’s a decent start — and certainly far better than predicted coming into this meeting.
I’ve been updating this piece all day. But now I have to drop off and catch a plane. We’ll have plenty more analysis on how this will all be implemented soon. So stay with us.