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Durban: Deal or No Deal?

By on December 12th, 2011

I’ve always said that if you set expectations low enough, it’s easy to be satisfied. That could perhaps serve as the motto of the recent U.N. climate talks in Durban, South Africa. Whilst AP called it a “landmark deal,” perhaps it’s a landmark in the sense that there was any deal at all. Mother Nature Network sums up what came out of the talks:

Beyond extending the Kyoto Protocol to 2017, the Durban Platform also lays the groundwork for an all-inclusive, legally binding deal to cut CO2 emissions. This accord is to be hashed out by 2015 and should become operational by 2020. Formally dubbed the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action, it would “develop a new protocol, another legal instrument or agreed outcome with legal force” that could be enforced under the existing U.N. climate convention.

…[T]he 11th-hour agreement was both valuable enough and vague enough to let many countries claim success.

And yet,

Leaders of small island states, which are on the front lines of sea-level rise, were less enthusiastic. “I would have wanted to get more, but at least we have something to work with,” said the negotiator for a coalition of small nations. “All is not lost yet.”

  1. 2 Responses to “Durban: Deal or No Deal?”

  2. By Don Carli on Dec 14, 2011 | Reply

    What a deal indeed. It is becoming increasingly clear that the future will belong to those countries (and companies) who invest in climate adaptation measures.

    According to Climate Action Tracker, if every country enacts and maintains every policy proposed to date, global temperature rise would reach 3.5 degrees C (6.3 degrees F) by 2100:

    http://climateactiontracker.org/news/116/Durban-Agreements-a-step-towards-a-global-agreement-but-risk-of-exceeding-3C-warming-remains-scientists.html

    They have also created an sobering infographic depicting the effects that global climate warming of 3 to 4 degrees will have.

  3. By Pat Berger on Dec 16, 2011 | Reply

    We are past the point of return. The damage is done. We can slow it down by not burning oil and coal but the warming will continue for hundred or more years.
    There have been many iceage and warming up cycles man is just helping this one occur a little faster. Don’t forget that we are approaching the high heat portion of the last ice age cycle.

    http://www.aip.org/history/climate/cycles.htm

    Since we have reached the point of no return I think our efforts should center on toxicity of the chemicals used. In the preceding centuries our legacy will be determined by what we do now. We have already messed up the heat cooling cycle lets not mess up the environment with chemicals that have lifetimes of hundreds of years and foul the water. Chemicals that do not break down and are 100% water soluable are virtually impossible to remove from the water. Glymes are a perfect example of this.
    Print manufacturing can be done with a complete biodegradable recyclable system. Yet there are less than 1000 facilities world wide using this technology.