The Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Convention on Climate Change have reached an agreement that makes significant strides toward the development of a new global agreement on climate change that is binding on all countries.
The agreement, called the ‘Durban Platform,’ calls for ‘a process to develop a protocol, another legal instrument or an agreed outcome with legal force under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change applicable to all parties.’ If agreed to, the legal instrument envisioned by the Durban Platform would impose binding emissions limitations on both developed and developing countries.
In addition, the Durban Platform calls for a new protocol to the Framework Convention on Climate Change to be adopted by 2015 and become effective no later than 2020.
The parties to the Kyoto Protocol also agreed to a second commitment period to begin in 2013. While the extension of the Kyoto Protocol would be significant to those entities operating in countries that will accept emissions limitations in the second commitment period, the Durban Platform itself has no impact unless a legally binding agreement to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions is ultimately reached.