Establishing a second commitment period for the Kyoto Protocol is a “tall order” for governments, and is the most difficult issue at the seventeenth Conference of the Parties, or COP 17, meeting, which gets under way in Durban this week, United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) executive secretary Christiana Figueres said on Sunday.
She said that there would be a serious effort in Durban to move towards a second commitment period for the Kyoto Protocol.
The Kyoto Protocol legally binds signatory developed countries to emission reduction targets. The first commitment period started in 2008 and terminates at the end of 2012.
“There is a need for governments of the world to make Durban the next step to climate change on a concrete level,” Figueres said at a media briefing ahead of the official opening of the climate talks on Monday.
She said that COP 17 was taking place against two backdrops, one of which was a growing momentum for action on climate change, and the second was new research and findings that were sounding alarm bells.
The growing momentum for action was indicative of 18 countries, which are major emitters, passing national legislation and feeding positive action on this level. Further, she said more businesses were exploring the carbon space, which was resulting in increasing investment in this sector.
“There is increasing evidence that government, the private sector and civil society are more serious about climate change,” Figueres said.
It was hoped that many institutional arrangements, from Cancun, Mexico, brought to the 2011 climate talks would be operationalised. This included the technology mechanism, the adaptation framework and the Green Climate Fund.