The Durban Agreement 2011 – A Comprehensive Guide
The Durban Agreement 2011 is a significant milestone in the fight against climate change. It was adopted at the 17th Conference of Parties (COP17) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) held in Durban, South Africa, in December 2011. This agreement marked a turning point in international efforts to address global warming, as it set the stage for a new, more inclusive, and ambitious framework for climate action.
Overview of the Durban Agreement
The Durban Agreement aimed to achieve three primary objectives:
1. To create a new universal climate agreement by 2015, which would be applicable to all countries, and not just developed nations.
2. To establish a Green Climate Fund (GCF) to help developing countries transition to low-carbon economies and adapt to the impacts of climate change.
3. To start the second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol as soon as possible.
The agreement was signed by 195 countries and marked a significant shift in the approach to climate negotiations. It recognized that all countries, regardless of their level of development, have a responsibility to take action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and address the impacts of climate change.
Key Highlights of the Durban Agreement
1. A new universal climate agreement: The agreement called for the development of a new international climate deal that would be applicable to all countries. The Paris Agreement of 2015 built on this agreement, setting a target to limit global warming to well below 2°C and pursuing efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels.
2. Green Climate Fund (GCF): The Durban Agreement established the GCF, a global fund to support developing countries in their efforts to mitigate and adapt to climate change. The GCF has since become a key financing mechanism for climate action, with a target to mobilize $100 billion per year by 2020.
3. Second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol: The Durban Agreement paved the way for the second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol, which was subsequently initiated in 2013. The Kyoto Protocol is an international agreement that commits developed countries to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions.
Challenges and Criticisms of the Agreement
While the Durban Agreement was a significant step forward, it faced a few challenges and criticisms. One of the main criticisms was that it lacked specific targets for emissions reduction. This meant that countries were not bound by any specific commitments to cut emissions, making it challenging to hold them accountable. Additionally, some environmentalists were disappointed that the Durban Agreement did not go further in terms of setting emission targets, with many calling for a much more ambitious deal to be reached.
The Durban Agreement 2011 set the stage for a new era of international climate action. It recognized the need for all countries to take responsibility for addressing global warming and established mechanisms to help developing countries transition to low-carbon economies. While it faced some challenges and criticisms, it remains a key milestone in the global effort to combat climate change.