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UN climate deal salvaged in Durban

By Lan Lan and Li Jing (China Daily)

09:21, December 12, 2011

DURBAN, South Africa - After sleepless, extended negotiations, exhausted delegates from more than 190 nations managed to keep the world's only legally binding emission treaty alive.

Governments, including those representing 38 industrialized countries, agreed to extend the Kyoto Protocol which is due to expire next year. The extension, from Jan 1, 2013 until the end of 2017, was agreed after the two-week climate conference, scheduled to end on Friday, was extended to Sunday and saw some negotiators bring their luggage to the final meeting so that they could dash to the airport when it finished.

Negotiators also agreed to start work next year on a new arrangement that will cover all countries to cut greenhouse gas emissions. The work will end by 2015 and come into force by 2020.

Currently, only industrialized countries have legally binding emission targets under the 1997 Kyoto Protocol.

China's top climate change negotiator, Xie Zhenhua, welcomed the package of measures, known as the Durban Platform.

"The meeting decided on a second commitment period for the Kyoto Protocol, the biggest concern for developing countries," Xie said.

A Green Climate Fund was also set up. This mechanism, in principle, will channel up to $100 million to poorer countries facing worsening floods, drought and rising seas.

Negotiators decided to start a process on the arrangement for a post-2020 climate regime, which would have legal force, Xie said.

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