Fragile optimism at crunch climate talks
South Africa, chairing the world climate talks here, urged countries late Saturday to accept a compromise as signs of progress returned to the troubled conference.
"Adopt this document as the Durban Outcome... the world is looking to you, the world awaits," Foreign Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane told a gathering of the 194-nation conference.
The basis for the deal, sketched in a small negotiating room in Durban's International Convention Centre (ICCC), must be approved later Saturday in plenary sessions of the the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
These sessions are notorious for delays and procedural hangups, though.
"I am very happy with what I am seeing," said Luiz Alberto Figueiredo, Brazil's top climate negotiator, as he emerged from the negotiating room.
"We are headed for an agreement here. The roadmap, everything is there," he told journalists, referring to a European proposal to forge a legally binding climate agreement by 2015 covering the world's major carbon polluters.
The 194-nation conference was scheduled to end on Friday but lurched into overtime for more than a day, mired in disagreement and procedural wrangling.
Nkoana-Mashabane said the four texts that comprise the deal amounted to "a comprehensive balanced and credible set of outcomes" that were "not perfect" but amounted to solid advances.
"This multilateral system remains fragile and will not suffer another shock," she warned.
© 2011 AFP