Doubts on Deal at UN Climate Change Conference

Posted November 28th, 2011 at 1:10 pm (UTC-5)
Leave a comment

Nearly 200 countries are taking part in a United Nations climate conference in South Africa, but there is little optimism the conference will result in a comprehensive plan to fight global climate change.

The 12-day meeting opened in Durban on Monday.

A key issue will be whether industrialized nations will extend the Kyoto Protocol, a legally binding agreement to cut greenhouse gas emissions. The pact is set to expire next year.

The world's two largest polluters, the United States and China, are at the center of the issue.

The U.S. has said it will not enter a pact to reduce carbon emissions unless the burden is equally shared by emerging economies such as China, India and Brazil.

Beijing has argued industrialized countries created most of the climate change problem and that developing countries should not have to shoulder the same burden.

Speaking at the opening ceremony on Monday, South African President Jacob Zuma said disagreements are putting developing nations at risk, especially in Africa where, he said, “climate change is a matter of life and death.”

Tanzania's Richard Muyungi said he thinks the countries can overcome the challenges of the debate.

Meanwhile, Bolivia's Diego Balanza said delegates have to move past the previous climate conference failures.

He said delegates must push to secure large commitments, which were not achieved by prior talks.

The conference will also consider ways to raise $100 billion a year for the Green Climate Fund, which aims to help countries cope with global warming.