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Durban agreement leaves gaping gaps on emissions, finance and legal form

The wishy-washy agrement struck in Durban today completely fails the climate, the Australian Greens said today.

Australian Greens Deputy Leader, Senator Christine Milne, just returned from Durban, said, "The world is now on track to exceed 2 degrees of warming under this agreement. No matter how much nuancing of the words is done, the fact is the political reality does not match the scientific reality.

"There were three gaps to be filled at this conference - a legal gap, a finance gap and an emissions gap. The emissions gap has, if anything, worsened. The finance gap has been given a framework but no mechanism to fill it. The legal gap remains, with a political agreement, not a binding instrument.

"The 6 to 11 gigatonne gap between emissions cuts countries have pledged and what is needed to meet their own 2C agreement remains.

"Australian negotiators, backing up the USA, Canada and New Zealand, played a negative role, ensuring that proposed text to drive greater ambition and deeper cuts was taken off the table.

"Minister Combet knows full well that the commitment he has signed up to to constrain warming to no more than 2C will be breached under this agreement and he needs to explain to the Australian community why he did not back the EU and Least Developed Countries' efforts to lift ambition.

"A second commitment period under the Kyoto Protocol has been agreed, but there is no decision on timeframe. Australia refused to even put its agreed target into the second commitment period agreement and worked overtime to undermine the integrity of the rules so that the agreement will be full of loopholes.

"Australia worked to get an administrative framework for the Green Climate Fund, but did not support mechansisms such as a bunker fuel or financial transaction tax that would have put money into it.

"This empty shell will leave developing nations even more bitter about the bad faith negotiation of rich countries.

"On the issue of achieving a long-term treaty which includes all major emitters, we now have weak words with no real action before 2020. Worse still, what has been agreed is not an enforceable legal instrument. Instead, we just have an agreement that will be under the Kyoto Protocol rules, with no compliance provisions.

"The political will still does not exist to take serious climate action in this critical decade. Prime Minister Gillard and Minister Combet, together with their counterparts in the USA, Canada and New Zealand, have a lot to answer for."

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