CLIMATE SPECTATOR: A real climate roadmap?

The biggest barrier to a climate pact – which countries are bound and which are not – is now removed thanks to Durban. And the implications for investors are significant.

Climate Spectator

The United Nations ended their annual climate change talks in Durban on Sunday in much the same way they have done for the past 17 years – after all-night sittings and amid a cloud of conspiracy theories, accusations, frayed tempers, backflips and compromise. Only this time they managed to go into a second day of overtime and pluck from apparent failure an agreement that is being hailed as the most significant since Berlin in 1995.

Those talks in Berlin did not result in a new treaty, and nor were those in Durban expected to. But Berlin did lay the groundwork for the Kyoto Protocol that was concluded just two years later. Similar expectations are now held for the Durban mandate, only this time all countries will be bound by the same legal form in a new treaty that will be concluded by 2015, and come into force by the end of the decade.

It is, as federal climate change minister Greg Combet described it, an historic agreement. It does not – as any climate change scientist, think tank and environmental NGO, the International Energy Agency, the UN, and many of the world’s leading corporates will tell you – set the world on course to reach its agreed goal to limit global warming to 2°C. Or anywhere close.

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