Climate Action

Durban must deliver a roadmap for climate action by all major economies

Durban beach © CC BY-ND Pierre van Eck

The United Nations climate change conference starting on 28 November in Durban, South Africa, must agree on a roadmap and deadline for finalising an ambitious, comprehensive and legally binding global framework for climate action by all major economies. Agreement on this roadmap is one of the reassurances the European Union requires for entering into a second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol.

Durban also needs to make operational the decisions taken last year in Cancún, Mexico, and tackle major issues not resolved there. It should result in a balanced package of decisions acceptable to all Parties.

The EU will report in Durban on its good progress in delivering on the €7.2 billion in "fast start" climate finance it has pledged to developing countries over the period 2010-12. Two-thirds of the total – €4.68 billion – has been mobilised to date.

Connie Hedegaard, European Commissioner for Climate Action, said: "The EU is ready for a global treaty in Durban. But the reality is that other economies like the US and China are not. Let's be clear: The EU supports the Kyoto Protocol. But a second Kyoto period with only the EU, representing 11% of global emissions, is clearly not enough for the climate. This cannot constitute success in Durban. The key question is: when will others follow? Today's mutually interdependent world means global climate action from all. What is at stake at Durban is to go beyond Kyoto. So the EU could go for a second Kyoto period if we get reassurances from the other major emitters that they will follow. In Copenhagen leaders pledged to stay below 2°C. Now the time has come to show that they mean it."