Environment Minister, Mr. Phil Hogan T.D., today (11 Dec 2011) welcomed the agreement reached at the UN climate conference in Durban as a major step forward in the fight against climate change. Minister Hogan said “This is a significant step forward for global action on climate change. We are moving to a legal framework that will engage all major emitters”.
The conference outcome meets the EU’s key demand by launching a process – the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action – to develop a new Protocol, another legal instrument or agreed outcome with legal force that will be applicable to all Parties to the UN Climate Convention. The decision states that this process shall raise levels of ambition in reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The new instrument is to be adopted by 2015 at the latest and is to be implemented from 2020.
At the initiative of the EU and the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS), the conference also agreed to launch a work plan to identify options for closing the “ambition gap” between countries’ current emissions reduction pledges for 2020 and the goal of keeping global warming below 2°C.
The Durban Package provides that a second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol will run from 1 January 2013, thus avoiding a gap at the end of the first commitment period finishing next year.
The Minister particularly welcomed the decision in Durban to move towards a work programme on agriculture and climate change. Minister Hogan said: “Since becoming Minister I have been highlighting the need for more joined up thinking on Climate Change and Agriculture and I won supportfor this at EU leveland among certainMinisters from developing countrieswith whom I met bilaterally in Durban.Agriculture and food security are key issues for people in the developing world where the impacts of climate change are felt most”.
New international rules for forestry carbon accounting for the post-2012 period will improve the Protocol’s environmental integrity. These new rules will allow the climate change mitigation benefits of the forest sector and forest products in Ireland to be fully realised.
The Durban outcome also makes operational the new Green Climate Fund (GCF) by finalising its design and governance arrangements. The GCF is expected to be one of the major distribution channels for the US$ 100 billion in assistance which developed countries have pledged to mobilise for developing nations annually by 2020 in the context of meaningful mitigation efforts.