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People's Daily Online>>World

Durban climate talks end with last-minute deals

By Chen Ying (People's Daily Overseas Edition)

14:42, December 13, 2011

Edited and translated by People's Daily Online

A number of last-minute deals were reached during the final hours of the 17th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), which concluded on Dec. 11 in Durban, South Africa.

The conference, also the Seventh Meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol, marked a new turning point for international climate talks.

There has been a long-standing dispute among the international community over whether to launch a two-track climate negotiating process, in which developed and developing countries have different obligations, or to merge the Kyoto Protocol with a new agreement. One of the positive outcomes of the crucial Durban U.N. climate talks is that issues concerning the future of the Kyoto Protocol have been resolved.

The future of the Kyoto Protocol had stirred worldwide concerns even before the Durban climate talks began. Under a two-track parallel negotiating system, developing countries insisted on extending the Kyoto Protocol, while developed countries led by the European Union strived to merge the protocol with their new proposal.

After intense debate, the parties involved compromised and agreed to set a second commitment period for the Kyoto Protocol, which will come into force on Jan. 1, 2013 and expire in 2017 or 2020. Developed countries are required to submit their emissions reduction targets within the framework of the Kyoto Protocol before May 2012.

Furthermore, a working group was set up under the UNFCCC to begin a four-year negotiation process for a new legally binding deal covering all countries to be reached by 2015 and to come into effect by 2020.

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