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Climate deal helps more countries go green

The breakthroughs made at Durban will help poor countries tackle climate change and take a greener path to development

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

The UN climate talks in South Africa have resulted in significant progress towards a global deal that will help poor countries to cope with the impacts of climate change and support them along the path to greener growth.

The talks in Durban saw 194 countries come together over the past couple of weeks. Discussions focussed on the steps needed for a global legally binding agreement to be put in place to ensure that carbon emissions are reduced sufficiently to limit rising global temperatures to below 2°C and avoid dangerous climate change.

The key outcomes from summit include:

  • An agreement on the design of the Green Climate Fund to support poorer countries to adapt to climate change and minimise its impacts
  • A roadmap for all countries to sign a legally binding deal to tackle climate change that would come into effect by 2020
  • An agreement to adopt, by next year, the second round of the Kyoto Protocol that commits countries to cutting their carbon emissions

The Green Climate Fund will help poor countries to tackle climate change - from better energy efficiency to coping with increased flooding or the failure of crops.

The UN summit also agreed to look at much needed longer-term sources of finance for developing countries in the years ahead. The aim is to mobilise over $100 billion per year by 2020 to help fund poor countries’ long term adaptation, cut carbon emissions and manage forests sustainably. For example, by investing in low carbon technologies or increasing renewable energy use.

International Development Secretary Andrew Mitchell said:

British aid is already helping many of the poorest and most vulnerable people to cope with the devastating impact of climate change.

The evidence is clear - it is the world’s poorest who are hit hardest by a changing environment. It is vital that we continue to help the poorest countries to carry out the urgent work needed to adapt and benefit from low-carbon technology.

Energy and Climate Change Secretary Chris Huhne said:

This is a significant step forward in curbing emissions to tackle global climate change. For the first time we’ve seen major economies, normally cautious, commit to take the action demanded by the science.

The EU’s proposal for the roadmap was at the core of the negotiations and the UK played a central role in galvanising support. This outcome shows the UNFCCC system really works and can produce results.

Progress was also made on many more aspects of the negotiations including:

  • Agreed reporting guidelines for both developed and developing countries
  • The creation of the Adaptation Committee, which will provide advice on adaptation and help to make sure changes are joined up around the world
  • The establishment in 2012 of the Technology Executive Committee, to facilitate the development of low-carbon technologies
  • Further details of the framework for reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (known as REDD+)
  • A process for establishing new market-based mechanisms to deliver effective reductions in emissions at the lowest possible cost

Achieving progress on a climate deal is crucial to tackling global poverty. Britain is playing its part by pushing for a global deal that will benefit poor countries. UK aid is also helping developing countries to adapt to climate change, use clean technologies and tackle deforestation.

Updates to this page

Published 13 December 2011