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Brussels, 11 December 2012
Durban conference delivers breakthrough for climate
The European Union welcomes the agreement reached at the UN climate conference in Durban as a historic breakthrough in the fight against climate change. After two weeks of negotiations, the 195 Parties to the UN climate change convention agreed on a roadmap, proposed by the EU, for drawing up a legal framework by 2015 for climate action by all countries. The Durban conference also agreed that there will be a second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol, made operational the new Green Climate Fund for developing countries and approved a series of measures which build on the progress made at last year’s Cancun conference.
Connie Hedegaard, European Commissioner for Climate Action, said: "EU’s strategy worked. When many parties after Cancun said that Durban could only implement decisions taken in Copenhagen and Cancun, the EU wanted more ambition. And got more. We would not take a new Kyoto period unless we got in return a roadmap for the future where all countries must commit. Where the Kyoto divides the world into two categories, we will now get a system that reflects the reality of the today’s mutually interdependent world. And as we are interdependent, what we promise to do must have the same legal weight. With the agreement on a roadmap towards a new legal framework by 2015 that will involve all countries in combating climate change, the EU has achieved its key goal for the Durban climate conference’’.
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Polish Environment Minister Marcin Korolec, whose country currently holds the presidency of the Council of the European Union, said: " This is an moment comparable only to, if not surpassing, the success of COP1 from 1995, when the Berlin Mandate was established, which led to the creation and adoption of the only legally binding international agreement to combat climate change – the Kyoto Protocol. Today, we adopted a Durban Platform, which will lead us to a legally binding agreement being completed by the year 2015 to engage all parties. A lot of hard work has gone to achieve this. That is significant success of the Polish presidency of the EU Council together with European Commission, the European Union and the global community as a whole’’
The Durban Package includes the following elements:
Durban Platform for Enhanced Action
The conference outcome meets the EU's key demand by launching a process – the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action - to develop a new Protocol, another legal instrument or agreed outcome with legal force that will be applicable to all Parties to the UN climate convention. The decision states that this process shall raise levels of ambition in reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The new instrument is to be adopted by 2015 and be implemented from 2020.
At the initiative of the EU and the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS), the conference also agreed to launch a work plan to identify options for closing the "ambition gap" between countries' current emissions reduction pledges for 2020 and the goal of keeping global warming below 2°C.
In the Durban Package it is formally decided that a second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol will run from 1 January 2013, thus avoiding a gap at the end of the first commitment period finishing next year. New rules on forestry management approved as part of the package will improve the Protocol's environmental integrity. Parties' quantified targets for reducing emissions, as well as rules governing the carry over of surplus emission rights from the first commitment period, will be decided at the end of next year.
Green Climate Fund and other new bodies
The Durban outcome makes operational the new Green Climate Fund (GCF) by finalising its design and governance arrangements. The GCF is expected to be one of the major distribution channels for the US$ 100 billion in assistance which developed countries have pledged to mobilise for developing nations annually by 2020 in the context of meaningful mitigation efforts. Germany has pledged €40 million and Denmark €15 million for the operationalisation of the GCF.
The arrangements needed to make operational the new Technology Mechanism and Adaptation Committee have also been agreed.
The Durban Package brings into operation new arrangements for making more transparent the actions taken by both developed and developing countries to address their emissions. This is a key measure for building trust between Parties.
New mechanisms and sectors
A new market-based mechanism is established to enhance the cost-effectiveness of actions to reduce emissions. A process is also launched to consider climate issues related to agriculture, with a view to taking a decision at the end of 2012. Both initiatives respond to EU demands.
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