- China - climate change - environment - South Africa - Uganda - USA
Dithering in Durban over a new Kyoto
After all night talks - success. Delegates from 194 countries and the European Union at the UN Climate Change Conference in Durban finally hammered out a deal at the weekend to replace the Kyoto Protocol. The carbon-reducing pact is due to expire in 2012 and there had been fears that a new accord would not be made. However, a new plan is under way, meaning a new agreement could be in place and operational by 2020.
It was a last-gasp effort to save the world from rising carbon emissions. The 1997 Kyoto Protocol, which set targets for 37 industrialised countries and Europe to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions, expires in 2012. Yet delegates could not reach an agreement on a successor to the agreement at the UN Climate Conference. The summit, which was due to end on Friday, finally closed on Sunday; as a deal was finally struck that will see all major polluters work towards a new Kyoto-style accord by 2015.
So what difference has the Kyoto Protocol made - and what can its future successor still make to the planet?
This week, we're in the US, a country that signed but never ratified the original Kyoto treaty, asking to what extent climate change is a priority for the people.
Then we're in Uganda, one of the countries taking part in the carbon trading system launched with the Kyoto Protocol. Developed countries can offset carbon emissions by buying up "carbon credits" from elsewhere in the world, such as Africa. However, charities claim the practice can lead to people being forced out of their homes.
Finally, China dominated the headlines during the Durban conference. Drought is one particular concern to Beijing, and many farmers have now been banned from using irrigation systems on their land. It's left farmers struggling to keep their businesses afloat as their land becomes destroyed by desertification.