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Climate

At last, Doha climate talks agree to Kyoto extension

The Doha conference has passed agreements to combat climate change and extend the Kyoto Protocol. Mired in dissent, the UN talks had dragged on for far longer than expected.

DOHA, Dec. 8, 2012 H.E. Abdullah Bin Hamad Al Attiyah (2nd R, front), President of the conference announces the final agreements of the UN Climate Change Conference (COP 18 and CMP 8) at the Qatar National Convention Center (QNCC) in Doha, Qatar, Dec. 8, 2012. (Xinhua/Li Muzi

Klimakonferenz Doha Abdullah bin Hamad Al-Attijah

The renewal will keep existing climate targets until a new international agreement comes into effect in 2020, pending a new pact to be decided on by 2015. Kyoto's expiry on January 31 would have left the world without a legally binding framework to confront global warming.

The meeting ran longer than planned, concluding Saturday when the agreement was reached. After a long night of negotiating, conference chairman Abdullah bin Hamad Al-Attiyah of Qatar called international representatives to a plenary session at which he urged them to consider a set of compromise agreements.

After days of deadlocked talks on Saturday al-Attiyah finally rushed through the package of deals, which he termed the Doha Climate Gateway.

Russia objects

Russia had tried to halt Kyoto's extension and ultimately objected to the passing of the deal, and noted that it retained the right to appeal agreement to the plan.

Japan and Canada also opted out of the Kyoto extension, leaving it to be approved by the 27-member European Union, Australia, Switzerland and eight other industrialized nations signing up for binding emission cuts by 2020. Combined, they represent about 15 percent of total global emissions. Kyoto locks in only developed nations, excluding major polluters such as China and India, as well as the United States which refuses to ratify it.

The talks saw tensions between rich countries and poor ones - nations profiting from emissions and those most at risk from climate change. The package will help poor countries deal with warming and convert to planet-friendlier energy sources. In a blow to the demands of developing nations for a clear timetable for a promised tenfold increase in aid to $100 billion (76.3 billion euros) a year by 2020, the draft deal merely agreed to put off decisions until 2013.

Delegates agreed that the Doha decisions fell far short of recommendations by scientists for tougher action to try to avert more heat waves, sandstorms, floods, droughts and rising sea levels. Emissions are set to rise by 2.6 percent this year, and are more than 50 percent higher than in 1990.

mkg/jlw (AFP, Reuters, dpa, AP)    

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