Durban must build on what Kyoto began

by Chris Huhne, UK Secretary of State for Energy & Climate Change. A year ago, in a swirl of pessimism, the UN held negotiations on climate change in Cancun. After Copenhagen, it seemed that the principles of international cooperation itself were on trial. Expectations were low. But out of the acrimony arose a new consensus. The world agreed to keep global warming to below 2C. This is significant. The world does not agree that often. We have few global agreements – and just one global organisation. Next week, the UN will convene the next round of talks on a global climate treaty. Last year, our focus was to keep the show on the road: as long as you are talking, there are options. But time is running out. As the International Energy Agency noted this month, the window for meaningful action on climate change is now measured in years, not decades. The science tells us we must bring down global emissions by 2020. In Cancun, we began to put in place the global architecture to monitor emissions and support developing countries in tackling climate change. But a more fundamental question went unanswered. Where are the international talks heading? Are we moving to a legal agreement committing major economies to emission targets, or merely to a framework for voluntary national pledges? My answer is simple: a global deal covering all major economies is a necessity. Governments need the certainty that their competitors will be taking similar action. A new treaty was important enough to both coalition partners that it featured in our Coalition Agreement last year. There is, of course, already a legally binding deal in place: the Kyoto Protocol. In 1997, 37 major economies formally committed to cutting emissions. The EU has already surpassed its Kyoto target. The first Kyoto Protocol commitment period ends next year, however, and several countries have already said they will not enter a second ...Zum vollständigen Artikel

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