EU: COP17 deal hinges on last big emitters to commit

By John Parnell
RTCC in Durban

EU Commissioner for Climate Action has been the driving force behind the bloc's strong stance in Durban (Source: EU)

EU Commissioner for Climate Action has been the driving force behind the bloc's strong stance in Durban (Source: EU)

A deal can still be done in Durban if the final big emitters are prepared to shift from their current positions, according to the EU.

Speaking on the last day of the talks, the group said moves by some of the poorest and vulnerable nations had changed the landscape of the negotiations.

“Six months ago, no-one was talking about a future climate regime, about what should follow the Cancun and Copenhagen agreements,” said Connie Hedegaard EU Commissioner for Climate Action. “Today agreement is within reach… on a 2nd commitment period and a roadmap for negotiating a future regime that is global and legally binding.”

Talks continued till 4am on Thursday night and are anticipated to last until the early hours of Saturday morning. One of the key late developments was the partnership of the EU, the Least Developed Countries and the Alliance of Small Island States, which collectively stated their willingness to move toward a global deal by 2020.

“The rich/poor divide is over,” said Hedegaard in relation to the negotiations. “I note with great satisfaction that both South Africa and Brazil are moving their positions. That is half the BASIC, now we are waiting for the other half.

“It is interesting that some of the countries that have previously said ‘we must be in a box on our own because we are poor’. When those countries say ‘we think we should have an outcome where we all commit’, that is encouraging and that is what we are seeing in Durban. Of course that does not mean they should commit the same as the world’s richest countries,” added Hedegaard.

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