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EU claims Durban climate breakthrough

The EU’s governing bodies have taken credit for the climate agreement reached at the United Nations conference in Durban, South Africa.

After two weeks of negotiations the UN climate change convention agreed on 11 December to prepare a legally binding deal by 2015 to cut greenhouse-gas emissions. This will include China, India and the US, which have not been bound by any treaty to curb their emissions so far.

The package agreed in Durban also includes the renewal of the Kyoto Protocol—the only legally binding treaty obliging rich countries to cut on greenhouse gas emissions, which expires at the end of 2012.

“The EU’s strategy worked. We would not take a new Kyoto period unless we got in return a roadmap for the future where all countries must commit,” said climate action commissioner Connie Hedegaard. “With the agreement on a roadmap towards a new legal framework by 2015 that will involve all countries in combating climate change, the EU has achieved its key goal for the Durban climate conference.”

The Greens in the European Parliament agreed that the EU had re-emerged as a leader in the negotiations, but said the Durban deal was not good enough.

The agreement includes provisions to improve technology transfer and deploy climate technologies in developing countries, SciDev reports. In particular, the search for a host for the Climate Technology Centre and Network will start next year.

“But there is no mention in the Durban document on the technology transfer of intellectual property rights, a sticking point for developing countries, who say patent restrictions will hinder the flow of green technologies from advanced countries,” the news website adds.

The next UN climate conference will be held in Qatar next year.