Durban delegates burn the midnight oil for new deal on global warming

Compromise deal would give new life to Kyoto Protocol, delegates told.

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

It's an eleventh-hour compromise that would set a new course for the troubled international fight against climate change, delegates gathered in Durban have been told.

And failure to sign would not only spell failure for their latest 16-day effort; it would deal the "fragile" international effort a blow that it might not survive, conference leaders added.

The Canadian Press has the story:

DURBAN, South Africa -- A package of documents was submitted to a marathon U.N. climate conference Saturday that would set a new course for the global fight against climate change for more than a decade to come.

South Africa's foreign minister and chairman of the 194-party conference, Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, told delegates that failure to agree after 16 days of work would be an unsustainable setback for international efforts to control greenhouse gases.

"This multilateral system remains fragile and will not survive another shock,'' she told a full meeting of the conference, which had been delayed more than 24 hours while ministers and senior negotiators laboured over words and nuances.

Nkoana-Mashabane said the package of four documents, which were being printed as she spoke, were an imperfect compromise, but they reflected years of negotiations on issues that had plagued the U.N. climate efforts.

The 100-plus pages would give new life to the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, whose carbon emissions targets expire next year and apply only to industrial countries. A separate document calls on major emitting nations like China and India, excluded under Kyoto, to accept legally binding emissions targets in the future.

After her brief address, Nkoana-Mashabane adjourned the session. The documents were to be discussed and put up for approval later Saturday. The convention operates by consensus, and the package will not be put up for a vote.

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