The closing hour for the COP 17 climate change summit has come and gone, but the parties have agreed to keep negotiating on Saturday morning (that’s around 2 am Eastern Standard Time in the U.S.)
Media reports were somewhat encouraging Thursday in that the U.S. and some other nations appeared to be signaling increased flexibility in their positions. But the negotiations remained in flux Friday, with major questions still unanswered about whether conference delegates would breathe new life into the Kyoto Protocol or move toward some interim arrangement to move the international negotiations forward.
Duncan Marsh, The Nature Conservancy’s director for international climate policy, told The Jakarta Post that the Kyoto Protocol covering industrialized countries only accounts for 30 percent of the world’s emissions, and will not be sufficient to solve the climate problem. Consensus appeared to be building late in the talks around a European Union proposal to continue the treaty with a new agreement, potentially due by 2015, but many remain uneasy on the details that the new road map would offer.
“If [countries] converge on those details, we may well have both a second Kyoto protocol period and a commitment to negotiate a broader agreement, which in the long run will be more important,” Marsh was quoted.
Meanwhile, on the question of what role forest conservation and rural economic development can play in reducing emissions, the conference adaopted a technical decision on determining nations’ baseline emissions as part of the strategy known as REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation). The Conservancy’s work in partnership with governments in Indonesia and Brazil is focused on developing the effectiveness of REDD at the larger scales of districts, states and eventually nations.
“Countries ranging from rainforest nations to developed countries have seen how important it is to address the forest side of emissions and to protect forests for their climate benefits and other things,” said Sarene Marshall, the Conservancy’s climate change managing director, in an interview with Voice of America.
So, if you can’t sleep, check your Twitter feed early Saturday (hashtags: #planetchange or #COP17) to see what’s heating up in Durban.
Lisa Hayden is a blogger and writer for The Nature Conservancy
Photo by: Paul Mackie (Even landscaping at the Durban convention center was decorated with the COP 17 logo)
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