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Sunday
Dec112011

Climate Conference Ends With Late Agreement

Stockbyte/Thinkstock(DURBAN, South Africa) -- In the end, negotiators at the global climate conference in South Africa made a deal, kept the conversation among 195 nations intact, advanced the contracts of cooperation, and prevented the feared collapse of these global climate treaties that have been evolving for more than 20 years in the planet-wide struggle to stave off the worst catastrophic impacts of man-made global warming.

While the world was distracted by peaceful “Occupy” demonstrations spreading across Russia, more deadly government violence bearing down in Syria, and, in the United States, another debate among Republicans vying to run against U.S. President Barack Obama in 2012’s election, the delegates in a huge convention center in South Africa worked straight through the third night in a row.

It is hard work to get 195 nations to agree on anything, much less complex emissions reductions schedules and credit and loan guarantees linked to damage projections and scientifically calibrated precipitation scenarios.

Work that is, in the parlance of diplomacy, “highly technical.”

And out of their endless work and attention to thousands of details, negotiators arrived at Sunday morning’s headlines: The Kyoto Protocol binding many nations—but not the U.S., China or India—to strict carbon emission cuts was not only saved, but there was now an agreement among all nations—including the U.S., China and India—that by 2015, all countries would affirm binding legal agreements on carbon emissions that would go into effect by 2020.

There would also be a “Green Climate Fund” of $100 billion a year by which rich nations, who put the lion’s share of the invisible heat-trapping gases in the air, would assist poor nations, who put little in the air, adapt as best they can to the painful disruptions and displacements from global warming that are increasingly frequent.

Many science groups, humanitarian aid organizations and smaller nations emphasized, however, that the agreements still left an enormous gap between what was being promised and what is needed to avoid the worst impacts of climate change—possibly arriving even by mid-century.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio