Climate Action

Durban conference delivers breakthrough for climate

Durban beach © CC BY-ND Pierre van Eck

The European Union welcomes the agreement reached at the UN climate conference in Durban as a historic breakthrough in the fight against climate change. After two weeks of negotiations, the 195 Parties to the UN climate change convention agreed on a roadmap, proposed by the EU, for drawing up a legal framework by 2015 for climate action by all countries. The Durban conference also agreed that there will be a second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol, made operational the new Green Climate Fund for developing countries and approved a series of measures which build on the progress made at last year’s Cancun conference.

Connie Hedegaard, European Commissioner for Climate Action, said: "EU’s strategy worked. When many parties after Cancun said that Durban could only implement decisions taken in Copenhagen and Cancun, the EU wanted more ambition. And got more. We would not take a new Kyoto period unless we got in return a roadmap for the future where all countries must commit. Where the Kyoto divides the world into two categories, we will now get a system that reflects the reality of the today’s mutually interdependent world. And as we are interdependent, what we promise to do must have the same legal weight. With the agreement on a roadmap towards a new legal framework by 2015 that will involve all countries in combating climate change, the EU has achieved its key goal for the Durban climate conference".

Polish Environment Minister Marcin Korolec, whose country currently holds the presidency of the Council of the European Union, said: "This is a moment comparable only to, if not surpassing, the success of COP1 from 1995, when the Berlin Mandate was established, which led to the creation and adoption of the only legally binding international agreement to combat climate change – the Kyoto Protocol. Today, we adopted a Durban Platform, which will lead us to a legally binding agreement being completed by the year 2015 to engage all parties. A lot of hard work has gone to achieve this. That is significant success of the Polish presidency of the EU Council together with the European Commission, the European Union and the global community as a whole".