Sunday, December 11, 2011

Agreement reached at UN climate change conference

A hard-fought agreement regarding climate change was recently reached at the 2011 World Climate Summit gathering in Durban, South Africa. This was a gathering of a 194 member body representing countries around the world.  Some of the developing countries, including India and China, that had previously been exempt from emissions restrictions in the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, will, after five years, need to come under the commonly agreed upon carbon emission standards.

India and China were upset with the U.S. and European nations expectation that they come under the same new rules, when they emitted vast amounts of pollutants during their industrial development over the previous 200 years.  They also noted how the U.S. has been slow to adopt green technology.

Wood burning stove
Environmentalist were disappointed with the agreement. They felt it didn't move fast enough or deep enough to stem the release of carbon emissions, which are rising the earth's temperatures and leading to cataclysmic weather patterns. Additional concerns were raised around the lack of penalties and loopholes that could impact effectiveness of the agreement. A voice of concern about the lack of a courageous response to the climate change talks was provided by youth delegate, Anjali Appadurai, and is available for viewing on YouTube

The U.S. representatives were worried that Congress might not support the regulations.  The U.S. failed to ratify the Kyoto Protocol that most all of the other industrial nations approved in 1997.  

One of the more positive outcomes was the decision to develop a Green Plant Fund to assist poorer nations in meeting environmental standards.  

Further information is available from a USA Today article, Climate conference approves landmark deal

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