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Climate talks in extra time after row over draft deal

Video by Catherine Nicholson

Text by By France 24

Latest update : 2011-12-10

UN climate talks are continuing into an unscheduled 13th day on Saturday as delegates struggle to formulate a draft deal that can satisfy everyone. The sticking point is whether any deal can be “legally binding”.

Nations were inching closer to a climate deal in Durban on Saturday after a night of marathon talks took the UN climate conference into an unscheduled 13th day.
 
A new draft document of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) appears to have the backing of most parties and would set the stage for a new round of talks to begin next year, with a view to formulating a global deal by 2015.
 
Talks are due to continue through Saturday, and possibly into Sunday, before an announcement is made.
 
Blocking progress is an EU call, supported by some 90 developing countries, for a legally binding “roadmap” towards reducing greenhouse gas emissions that would keep the Kyoto Protocol, which expires next year, alive until a new global pact can be concluded in 2015.
 
“The sticking point is whether [the document] can be legally binding,” said FRANCE 24 correspondent Mairead Dundas in Durban. “The EU is pushing hard for this, as are developing countries, but it is the US, India and China who are holding out.”
 
These last three countries are the world’s biggest polluters. Significantly, none of them ratified the 1997 Kyoto treaty, the only existing global treaty on climate change.
 
Recent climate conferences, in Copenhagen in 2009 and at Cancun in 2010, both ended without any agreement, adding to pessimism that anything concrete can come out of the Durban convention.
 
French Environment Minister Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet said late on Friday that she could not predict the outcome of the conference.
 
“The EU is fighting for a legally binding agreement and there are many interesting ideas on the table,” said the minister who was due to return to France that day. “But there is a problem in the method [of applying a legally binding agreement]. It is impossible to say at this time whether or not an agreement can be reached.”
 
Jean-Pascal van Ypersele, the vice-chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) was more optimistic, said he believed a positive agreement would be announced before the weekend was over.
 
“These climate conferences are always a step in the right direction,” he told FRANCE 24 on Saturday. “For scientists working for the IPCC these steps always seem too small in the face of the huge challenges.
 
“We have to recognise that reaching a deal with such a big variety of interests on the global table is very difficult. I believe that what is emerging here in Durban is a step in the right direction and that an agreement will be announced today.”
 

Date created : 2011-12-10

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