News / Africa

Durban Climate Conference Drags On With Few Signs of Progress

Delegates continue debating into the night during the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP17) in Durban, South Africa, December 9, 2011.
Delegates continue debating into the night during the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP17) in Durban, South Africa, December 9, 2011.

Multimedia

Audio

The United Nations climate conference in Durban, South Africa has gone into overtime, as delegates met Saturday to try to reach agreement on several deals to fight climate change.  Observers still question if any of the proposals on the table are strong enough to have a real impact.

Negotiators representing nearly 200 nations worked through the night and well into the day Saturday, with hopes of leaving Durban with solid deals in place.

Among the key issues being discussed is whether to adopt a second commitment period of at least five years to the Kyoto Protocol - a pact, enacted in 2007 that legally binds governments to cut emissions.

The current proposal being considered would extend the Kyoto Protocol for another term, if, in exchange, the United States, China and other big countries that are not a part of it, agree to negotiate a future replacement deal to cut emissions after 2020.

But even if a deal is reached here in Durban, some observers say the terms are still insufficient to combat climate change.

"It's all well and good to talk about long-term treaties post 2020, and that's essential and we support that and want to get a decision here launching a process to do that," said Alden Meyer, who is from the Union of Concerned Scientists. "But we also need a near term process to raise the level of ambition collectively, both developed and developing countries, to try to substantially raise efforts to close what's called the gigaton gap, which is the gap between the emissions reductions we have on the table and those that have to be made to stay under two degrees."

Two degrees centigrade is the amount by which scientists say the Earth can warm before causing irreversible damage to life systems.

Another big issue is setting up the Green Climate Fund, which is supposed to provide financing for environmental projects in developing countries. Countries have had a hard time agreeing on what sources of funding will be used for the fund, and on other technical aspects.

Harjeet Singh of ActionAid says it looks increasingly unlikely there will be a complete fund before the next climate conference in Qatar.

"Things are not looking very positive on the Green Climate Fund we see that the operationalization that we were expecting to definitely have happen in Durban, it's not really happening," said Singh.  "It has been moved to next year so between now and Qatar it may happen sometime, which is quite depressing."

Singh said the United States, which has been asking that private firms have more access to the fund, is largely responsible for the delay.

Time is running out for a major deal to combat climate change, and many environmental ministers involved in the talks have already started heading home.

Some of the employees at the conference center have been asked to be available to work again on Sunday, suggesting negotiations may have a long way to go.

You May Like

Uganda Court Annuls Anti-Gay Law

Court says law was passed in parliament without enough members present for a full quorum More

Multimedia Thailand Makes Efforts to Improve Conditions for Migrant Laborers

In Thailand, its not uncommon for parents to bring their children to work; one company, in-collaboration with other organizations, address safety concerns More

In Indonesia, Jihad Video Raises Concern

Video calls on Indonesians to join Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, ISIL More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
In Thailand, Some Efforts to Improve Conditions For Migrant Laborersi
X
Steve Herman
August 01, 2014 6:22 PM
Thailand has been facing increasing international scrutiny as a hub of human trafficking and slave labor. Some of the kingdom’s companies are striving to improve working conditions, especially for the millions of migrant laborers from surrounding countries. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok takes a look at one initiative for children at construction sites
Video

Video In Thailand, Some Efforts to Improve Conditions For Migrant Laborers

Thailand has been facing increasing international scrutiny as a hub of human trafficking and slave labor. Some of the kingdom’s companies are striving to improve working conditions, especially for the millions of migrant laborers from surrounding countries. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok takes a look at one initiative for children at construction sites
Video

Video Public Raises its Voice on Power Plant Pollution

In the United States, proposed rules to cut pollution from the nation’s 600 coal-fired power plants are generating a heated debate. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, charged with writing and implementing the plan, has already received 300,000 written comments. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, another 1,600 people are lining up this week at EPA headquarters and at satellite offices around the country to give their testimony in person.
Video

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict in Gaza, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities. Probably the most important destination is the local bakery. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Gaza City.
Video

Video China Investigates Powerful Former Security Chief

The public in China is welcoming the Communist Party's decision to investigate one of the country's once most powerful politicians, former domestic security chief Zhou Yongkang. Analysts say the move by President Xi Jinping is not only an effort to win more support for the party, but an essential step to furthering much needed economic reforms and removing those who would stand in the way of change. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video US-Funded Program Offers Honduran Children Alternative to Illegal Immigration

President Obama and Central American leaders recently agreed to come up with a plan to address poverty and crime in the region that is fueling the surge of young migrants trying to illegally enter the United States. VOA’s Brian Padden looks at one such program in Honduras - funded in part by the United States - which gives street kids not only food and safety but a chance for a better life without, crossing the border.
Video

Video 'Fab Lab' Igniting Revolution in Kenya

The University of Nairobi’s Science and Technology Park is banking on 3-D prototyping to spark a manufacturing revolution in the country. Lenny Ruvaga has more for from Nairobi's so-called “FabLab” for VOA.
Video

Video Immigrant Influx on Texas Border Heats Up Political Debate

Immigrants from Central America continue to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in south Texas, seeking asylum in the United States, as officials grapple with ways to deal with the problem and provide shelter for thousands of minors among the illegal border crossers. As VOA's Greg Flakus reports from Houston, the issue is complicated by internal U.S. politics and U.S. relations with the troubled nations that immigrants are fleeing.

AppleAndroid