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Durban climate talks wrap up

13th Dec 2011

The Durban Climate Change Conference has come to a close after a fortnight of talks, with a decision being made to develop a treaty in the next three years.

The agreement will have a commencement date of 2020 and would bind countries to lowering greenhouse emissions - a move that could see renewable energy such as solar becoming a more viable option for many countries.

Until then, the existing Kyoto protocol on addressing climate change has been extended until 2015 for some countries.

The conference also saw the establishment of the framework for a $100 billion annual green development fund.

However, the result have come as somewhat of a disappointment to many concerned with climate change and the future of renewable clean energy such as solar power.

"As far as I can tell, the agreement at Durban was not much more than an agreement to work towards an agreement and the time scale mentioned was very worrying," visiting research fellow at the Ecology Evolution and Landscape Science faculty at University of Adelaide Dr Russ Sinclair said.

"I understand that to find any sort of agreement among such a wide range of countries, with such diverse special interests, is a mammoth diplomatic task, and to get any unanimous agreement must be seen as a good step forward, and an indication that the governments of the world are beginning to realise the seriousness of the problem."

Federal climate change minister Greg Combet - who represented the country at the conference - considers the UN climate talk outcomes to be a breakthrough.

"They set the world on a path of long-term action to tackle climate change through a regime with wide global coverage and strong environmental effectiveness," he told News Limited.

"They will complement Australia's carbon price mechanism by boosting confidence in global mitigation efforts, providing a sound basis for investment in clean energy and stimulating growth in carbon markets."

Further good news to come out of the conference is the announcement that the tiny Pacific nation of Tokelau plans to use only renewable energy as its power source within a year.

The head of the Tokelau Government, Foua Toloa, told Radio Australia's Pacific Beat that although his country is small, it can pave the way for other nations.

"By September 2012 Tokelau will be the first nation 100 per cent renewable energy efficient, fulfilling our global obligation," he said.

Posted by Mike Peacock - Solar correspondent 

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