Durban’s last-minute effort to garner emissions reduction commitments from some 190 countries has been deemed an epoch-making event in the history of UNFCCC climate negotiations. Indeed, COP17 formalised: 1) The extension of Kyoto and the survival of its institutions and mechanisms; 2) A roadmap to a new “legal” treaty covering all nations agreed by 2015 and enacted by 2020; and 3) Agreement on the design of a Green Climate Fund (GCF). Considerable praise is due to the EU delegation for their role in guiding the negotiations.
However, like Cancun, Durban reveals how the UNFCCC process has continued to circumvent the difficult decisions. These decisions are required to both stabilise the climate and reinvigorate the currently glum international carbon market.