Climate, energy and net-zero

Disagreement deferred at Durban

  • This week’s Durban climate change summit got good reviews. Optimists highlighted the fact that any agreement at all was actually secured. By the unusually low standards of modern multilateral diplomacy, they have a point.
  • There is a commitment to further negotiations and a timetable for them. China and India have accepted for the first time the principle of binding cuts for themselves as well as the developed world. In Kyoto terms, this is progress.
  • In reality, India and China have committed to little that they are not already doing and tougher cuts will be pushing against declining political tolerance. Without a dramatic shift in political leadership, Durban may actually be the high point of multilateral agreement on climate change for this decade. There is still a long way to go before it is certain that it will deliver more than simply disagreement deferred to another day.

The views expressed in this report can be attributed to the named author(s) only.