10:17am GMT, 12 Dec update from Bill Gunyon
A summary of the outcome
of the Durban climate talks is provided in the post immediately below this one.
This blog has now closed and we would like to thank the thousands of visitors from all over the world
who shared our efforts to make sense of the latest episode in the fight against climate change.
The OneClimate live blog
delivered round-the-clock news, analysis, audio/video interactions with
the participants and much else throughout the 16 days of the Durban
event. For the final 72 hours of prolonged drama our coverage was
posted recordings of key moments,
such as the impassioned speeches by Jayanthi Natarajan and Xie Zhenhua,
within minutes of their delivery. These were accessible both here and on
other websites which took advantage of the free widget code to
reproduce this blog.
You can find the archive of the final three days
immediately below this blog. And here is the full archive
of our coverage of the Durban climate talks.
Anuradha Vittachi, founder of OneClimate and Director of OneWorld UK, contributed a number of articles reflecting on events in Durban in The Huffington Post
. Bill Gunyon, Editor of OneWorld Guides, contributed articles here
The full project team
was Adam Groves, Jeffrey Allen, Jamie Walker and Sara Penrhyn Jones in
Durban - and Anuradha Vittachi, Peter Armstrong, Matt Strong, Ken Kitson and Bill
Gunyon in the UK.
We would like to acknowledge the support of our partners, tcktcktck and APE.
You can contact us at guides @ oneworld.net.
Our motive for this project
is the belief that the global threat of climate change and the injustice springing from its underlying cause attract insufficient commitment from most of the world's media. There are no prizes for guessing which team remains at work in this photo of an empty media room at the Durban Convention Centre.
9:29am GMT, 12 Dec update from Bill Gunyon
Here is a very brief summary of the outcome
of the Durban climate talks. The detail is dependent on the final texts which, on past evidence, may not be released for a while.
Negotiations will begin immediately for a new climate change agreement
will capture the commitments of all countries with “legal force”. It
must be agreed no later than 2015 and come into force by 2020 at the
A second commitment period for the Kyoto Protocol
will start in 2013, binding the promises of 35 developed countries led
by members of the European Union. Japan, Russia and Canada have dropped
out, joining US which has never been a party. The new commitment period
will be for 5 or 8 years, yet to be agreed.
Legal and administrative issues necessary to launch the Green Climate Fund in 2012
have been approved. No detail has been forthcoming on how the promise
of funding of $100 billion per annum by 2020 will be achieved.
For an immediate reaction of international NGOs
, scroll down this blog to 3.00am 11th December and read Jeffrey Allen. You’ll find other reactions along the way.
5:13am GMT, 11 Dec update from Anuradha Vittachi
It's been long hard night - culminating in what looks like a longer, harder journey ahead for people struggling for a genuinely fair, genuinely ambitious and genuinely binding deal.
Tonight, as this COP comes to a close, in Russia, people are taking to the streets, demanding their voices are heard. Beginning in the US, but now increasingly across the world, people in the Occupy movement are helping to make other hidden voices heard. At the Durban COP, young people from Canada and the US succeeded in making their voices heard, even if it meant being expelled from the conference... Because the voices of the the global 99%, who will suffer most from a warming world, are still heard less than the voices of the polluters.
The OneClimate team will go on doing our best to listen to the people. Right now, though, we're going to sign off from our reporting from this COP - but not till we've said a massive 'thank you' to everyone who contributed their time, energy and best thinking to help create and spread this liveblog and livestream. Thank you.
4:53am GMT, 11 Dec update from Peter
In the EU Press Conference held as dawn was coming up in Durban Connie Hedegaard gave a spirited defence of the EU strategy going into the COP and her sense that most of it had been achieved.
4:22am GMT, 11 Dec update from Anuradha Vittachi
: Deal done, we are still on 4-6 degree celsius global warming pathway #cop17
4:19am GMT, 11 Dec update from Anuradha Vittachi
An EU press conference has kicked off at once. Connie Hedegaard says the EU will lead by example now on tackling climate change. She admits that 'outcome with legal force' is weak wording, but insists it is at least an improvement on the Bali Roadmap where there was no legal element.
4:08am GMT, 11 Dec update from Anuradha Vittachi
It seems that the conciliatory approach inside the Durban COP has kept the UN process intact and not allowed it to collapse as at Copenhagen - but what about the people outside the UN?
Civil society groups are making it clear that they see this COP as leaving the world's most vulnerable people still in peril from climate change, although they did least to create it. Justice has not been served.
3:56am GMT, 11 Dec update from Anuradha Vittachi
UNFCCC head Christiana Figueres speaks of a 'landmark' COP. But a question is raised again from the floor about what really happened in the huddle - at 12.40 GMT - after India's impassioned statement. The President speaks of the huddle being more inclusive than delegates from the EU and India, and that it is this inclusive and open approach throughout the process in Durban that has enabled this COP to work well.
3:53am GMT, 11 Dec update from Jeffrey Allen
And from Oxfam America's climate change program director...
||davidwaskow: Durban deal is done. An important page is turned but the next page is still completely blank.|
3:45am GMT, 11 Dec update from Jeffrey Allen
And now a few comments just streaming in from WWF:
||Catastrophe is a strong word but it is not strong enough for a future with 4 degrees of warming|
||The job of governments is to protect their people. They failed to do that here in Durban today|
||While negotiators and ministers were sitting behind closed doors, they weren’t hearing the people’s call|
||The bottom line is that governments got practically nothing done here COP17 and that’s unacceptable|
3:42am GMT, 11 Dec update from Peter
With these words the President, Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, closed COP17 at 5.30 in the morning local time.
3:40am GMT, 11 Dec update from Anuradha Vittachi
European and other northern governments are likely to be mightily relieved at the "successful" outcome of the Durban talks. The UK's Department of Energy and Climate Change has already chimed in happily. But many civil society groups are likely to go on being torn between relief that the Kyoto extension was achieved and the UN process saved - but what was really achieved in terms of global justice?
What about 'equity', of 'common but differentiated responsibilities'? The strong fear among emerging countries that they may be being marked out as 'the blocker' may have undermined their determination to insist on fairness. Previously, the big northern emitters, notably the US, were considered the blockers. There had been talk of 'a showdown' and of 'marginalising' the US. But the strong pressure to close the exhaustingly lengthy Durban talks on an apparently positive note, added to these sensitivities about who might be scapegoated, seems to have allowed the US to slip out of the limelight.
3:37am GMT, 11 Dec update from Jeffrey Allen
Friends of the Earth comes in a close second, headlining with "Broken Promises, Weak Rules." A few choice quotes from them:
||The outcome would provide little restriction on the destruction of the world's climate system.|
||Led by the US, developed nations have reneged on their promises, weakened the rules on climate action and strengthened those that allow their corporations to profit from the climate crisis.|
||The ambition for those emissions cuts remains terrifyingly low.|
||The Green Climate Fund has no money and the plans to expand destructive carbon trading move ahead.|
||It is clear in whose interests this deal has been advanced, and it isn't the 99% of people around the world. The noise of corporate polluters has drowned out the voices of ordinary people in the ears of our leaders.|
3:25am GMT, 11 Dec update from Jeffrey Allen
World Development Movement wins the race to declare a verdict. Here are a few choice quotes from the press release that just landed:
||The World Development Movement has slammed the outcome of the UN climate talks in Durban as a ‘spectacular failure’ that will condemn the world’s poorest people to hunger, poverty and ultimately, death.|
||The world is now on course for devastating temperature rises as a result of the failure of developed countries to act. Instead of coming to Durban to take action, developed countries have stonewalled on the real issues and kicked decisions down the road.|
||Developed countries have failed to commit to action to curb their emissions, leaving the world to run headfirst towards catastrophic climate change.|
||The UK and the EU have failed to put their money where their mouths are, and have not committed the money needed to help developing countries cope with climate change. Only agreeing to produce yet another report on financing with no guarantees that anything will come of it, after years of reports, promises and negotiations...|
||This roadmap is set to undermine the principles of the UN climate talks - that developed countries bear responsibility for causing climate change and must act first. Treating rich industrialised countries and poor developing countries as if they were the same is not a just solution to climate change.|
||Rich countries have put off the most important decisions on the biggest loopholes and even their own emission reductions until next year. With huge holes in Kyoto still possible, it is feasible that developed countries in the Kyoto Protocol could actually increase their emissions between now and 2020, and still meet their pledged emission reduction targets.|
3:24am GMT, 11 Dec update from Anuradha Vittachi
: Durban deal is done. An important page is turned but the next page is still completely blank.
3:20am GMT, 11 Dec update from Peter
A rather official-looking tweet from UK Department of Energy and Climate Change:
||DECCgovuk: Durban done! Road open to new global legal agreement KP2|
3:18am GMT, 11 Dec update from Peter
Can't resist quoting this tweet:
"Russia announces plane is leaving in 2 hrs, so they must go in a moment. Surely Oleg will watch the rest on @oneclimate bit.ly/uitYV9 #COP17"
3:17am GMT, 11 Dec update from Anuradha Vittachi
The delegate from DRC is very complimentary towards the President and her dignified leadership. It's all very different from the reaction of African delegates towards the leadership in Copenhagen.
3:04am GMT, 11 Dec update from Anuradha Vittachi
It's done. The document is agreed. But now the Russian Federation negotiator objects to the formation of the huddle - pushing and using elbows is not diplomatic behaviour, he says, disapprovingly. He says they didn't understand what was going on and requests clarification of the formulation agreed - though he adds that his disapproval of the process does not mean he is objecting to the document.
The Chair defuses his disapproval with a graciously humble apology - and then quickly underlines his acceptance. She has launched into a stirring finale, with a reference to ubuntu - 'I am because you are'.
The Russian Federation negotiator interrupts her, also apologetically, but says he cannot find discussion of his amendment. He wants a clear statement of the consideration of this item. It has something of the feeling of a game of chess.
3:03am GMT, 11 Dec update from Peter
: Just waiting for world to rejoice at headline 'EU saves climate' at #COP17, but no one asking WHAT just signed. Killing Africa in Africa.
3:00am GMT, 11 Dec update from Peter
: #COP17 remarkable new phase in climate regime. Critical next step, and still insufficient. Must continue raising ambition.
3:00am GMT, 11 Dec update from Jeffrey Allen
Been downstairs during the break taking the initial pulse of civil society. Let's just say, they're not very happy
with what's shaping up here, as the sun begins to rise over Durban.
If you're watching the proceedings, you're seeing high drama, people are patting themselves on the back, and the story of a "historic" agreement seems to be shaping up. But climate activists are talking about a hollow agreement.
Two of the main problems we're hearing are that:
- there's no reason to believe emission-cut targets will be increased at all;
- there's no reason to believe any significant funds will be committed to help poor countries cope with the impacts of climate change
According to prolific tweeter Murray Worthy of World Development Movement,
||We're replacing the Kyoto Protocol with... hope|
The bottom line: nothing has been agreed here that moves us off a 4-degree pathway, and as we all know, 4 degrees of warming is catastrophic for the world's vulnerable people and will result in irreversible consequences of climate change.
The silver lining: a few pathways have been outlined that may potentially result in higher emission-cut targets. But there's currently no reason to believe countries will choose the target-raising paths among the many other options still available to them that don't require them to increase their targets.
There will be a working group on ambition, for example, but no high-level meetings planned and no clear decision points mandated. So it's completely possible that nothing will come out of it. There will also be a chance to increase targets after the 2012-2015 review period, but that's a ways down the road, and also offers no guarantee of increased targets.
There are also a few ways that money could be raised to support poor countries. But, like on ambition, there's no reason to believe countries will choose those paths instead of the others available, which would not fill the Green Climate Fund with the necessary money to help support poor countries.
Shipping and airline fuel could still be taxed to raise money, or a tax could be levied on financial transactions, but if the mechanisms to raise those funds are not developed in the UN process, they'll likely only be taken up potentially by the G-20 -- the world's more powerful nations. The small islands will have no say. The African countries and other least developed countries will have no say.
So what was the alternative here? A total collapse, which could have ultimately spurred on a stronger deal, but may also have resulted in no pathways left to a 2-degree world. That would have been total disaster.
Where we are now, we can still see the door to a 2-degree world -- it hasn't been completely closed -- but it's very far away, and the path to it is one of the most unlikely ones in the forest right now.
As one civil society analyst told me, this is not a world-saving deal, it's just a deal that keeps the process moving along. That's something, but it's not nearly as much as we needed as time runs out to avert the most catastrophic and irreversible consequences of climate change.
2:58am GMT, 11 Dec update from Peter
Reaction from Christiana Figureres with explanation marks!
||CFigueres: Listen up!We have Kyoto CP2, path toward future with legal force for all, Green Climate Fund full implementation of Cancun package! #COP17|
2:56am GMT, 11 Dec update from Peter
The Green Climate Fund has just been agreed as well.
2:54am GMT, 11 Dec update from Peter
The moment that the President gavelled through the Kyoto Protocol agreement.