CARE at COP17
United Nations Climate Change Conference
Durban, South Africa
28 November – 9 December 2011
World leaders came together in Durban, South Africa, for the 17th UNFCCC Conference of Parties (COP17) to negotiate a global climate treaty. This followed on from COP16, held in Cancún, Mexico in 2010.
Following more than two weeks of intense negotiations, the UN Climate Change Conference in Durban, South Africa ended on 11 December 2011.
In the conference’s closing hours, parties agreed on an outcome that for the first time will force all of the world’s biggest polluters to take action to reduce the impacts of climate change. Currently this is no more than a mandate to work towards a legally binding plan to cut emissions, to come into force by 2020. Meanwhile, the Kyoto Protocol will enter a second commitment period to run from 2013-2020, and progress was made on a Green Climate Fund that will support developing countries to reduce their greenhouse emissions and adapt to the unavoidable impacts of climate change.
However, evidence is growing that this could be too little, too late, to avoid catastrophic interference with the climate system and warming in excess of 3-4 degrees Celsius. This would have a devastating impact on vulnerable communities and ecosystems, particularly poor women and children who have contributed least to climate change, but will be the hardest hit.
CARE sees a glimmer of hope in this pathway towards a long-term legally binding climate agreement for all greenhouse gas emitters, but the devil will be in the detail. Developed countries will need to commit to deeper cuts in greenhouse gas emissions and honor commitments to direct up to $98 billion a year to developing countries through the Green Climate Fund by 2020; a significant challenge against the backdrop of economic uncertainty in the US and some EU nations.
Visit CARE's Climate Change Information Centre for more on COP17.
Read about CARE at COP15 in Copenhagen and COP16 in Cancun.