Durban UN Climate Conference Ends with Mostly Talk, No Action

An all-night weekend session at the UN climate change convention in Durban, South Africa ends with few agreements but little real action.

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Chana Ya'ar,

No pollution in the northern Negev skies near
No pollution in the northern Negev skies near
Israel news photo: HLJ

An all-night session on Saturday night at the United Nations climate change convention in Durban, South Africa ended with the approval for a European Union plan to negotiate a future legal agreement on an EU "Roadmap" plan to combat climate change.

But the plan represents little effective action to prevent damage to the climate, environmentals said, locking out moves that would have any real impact on any country other than the top major industrial nations.

The deal calls for an end to negotiations by 2015 on a future deal to cut greenhouse gas emissions, and to implement the plan -- set to replace the current Kyoto Protocol -- no later than 2020.

The Kyoto Protocol, enacted in 2007, is due to expire next year. Although most governments that participated in the Kyoto agreement, including the EU, agreed to a second round lasting between five and eight years, Russia, Japan and Canada were unwilling to sign on.

A Green Climate Fund to help developing nations with environmental projects is also to be developed as a result of the convention. However, none of the participants could even agree on how the fund was to be financed -- hence the Fund is unlikely ever to be actualized.

"Perhaps it will be revisited at the U.N. climate conference next year in Qatar," one observer commented wryly.