Climate deal clears hurdle with post-2012 Kyoto pledges
A masterplan to step up global action against climate change cleared a key hurdle in Durban on Sunday where UN talks approved a fresh round of pledges under the Kyoto Protocol from 2013.
"Hearing no objections, it is so decided," South African Foreign Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane said as she brought down the gavel to applause.
Approval is a vital part of a so-called Durban Package aimed at toughening measures against greenhouse gases blamed for damaging Earth's fragile climate system.
Signed in 1997, Kyoto Protocol is the only global treaty that sets down targeted curbs in carbon emissions.
But its targeted curbs apply only to rich countries, excluding the United States, which has refused to ratify the accord.
Canada, Japan and Russia say they will not renew their vows when the first round of commitments expires at the end of 2012. They say new promises would make no sense when far bigger carbon polluters have no legal constraints.
Bidding for the support of developing countries for which Kyoto has iconic value, the EU declared it would, alone if need be, sign on for new pledges in exchange for the 2015 pact, which for the first time would set all countries under one roof.
A few other countries, including New Zealand, Norway and Switzerland, are likely to join the 27 EU bloc in the second Kyoto period. Its duration will be hammered out in further talks.
© 2011 AFP